According to the recent labour force data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigeria’s unemployment situation continues to worsen with the unemployment rate standing at 33.3% at the end of Q4-2020. Unemployment has been steadily rising over the years as efforts to curtail it have proved abortive.
The recent Covid-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the unemployment levels with fiscal and monetary measures implemented to support the economy inadequate to curb job losses.
In July 2020, the Federal government approved the creation of a N75.0bn Nigerian Youth Investment Fund (NYIF) to support enterprise among 68 million young Nigerian between the ages of 18 and 35. The Federal Government also announced plans to initiate a N2.0trn stimulus package and survival fund for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to stay afloat during the Covid-19 crisis.
However, the data released by NBS shows that this age group has the highest unemployment rate even though a lot of interventionist schemes have been directed towards that age group. This clearly explains that like many fiat-backed interventions, they are inadequate as long as structural issues remain.
To truly resolve the unemployment situation, we reckon several structural issues need to be resolved.
First, a revamp of policy frameworks (Regulatory and Economic) that influence the business environment must be implemented. In addition, the institutions designed to implement these policies must be strengthened to adequately enforce them and prevent volatile policy backflips.
Furthermore, under-tapped sectors like mining should be opened for private sector participation. These measures will help galvanise private sector investments and drive the establishment of business which ultimately leads to improved job creation and accelerated economic growth.