23 Million Nigerians Jobless – NIBS

By: JIMI DAVID

One out of three Nigerians who are qualified, fit, willing and able to work had no jobs in the last quarter of 2020. This was contained in a report of the National Bureau of Statistics (NIBS) released on Monday.

The bureau disclosed that Nigeria’s unemployment rate rose to 33.3 per cent, meaning 23.2 million people were jobless, the highest in 13 years and the second-highest rate in the world.

The figure ballooned from 27.1 per cent recorded in the second quarter amidst Nigeria’s lingering economic crisis worsened by the COVID-19  pandemic.

Unemployment rate in the country has more than quadrupled since 2016 when the economy went into a recession. A second recession occurred in 2020.

The federal government in its Economic Sustainability Plan had predicted that the rate of unemployment would rise to 33.6 per cent at the end of 2020 if urgent steps were not taken.

The statistics bureau said the economically active or working-age population (15 – 64 years of age) rose from 117 million in the second quarter to 122 million in Q4 2020, a 4.3 percent increase.

The report shows the number of persons in the labour force (people within ages 15 -64, who are able and willing to work) was estimated to be 69.7 million.

Of this number, those within the age bracket of 25-34 were highest at 28.8 per cent of the labour force.

The total number of people in employment during the reference period was 46.5 million, of which 30.6 million were in full-time employment (i.e., worked 40+ hours per week), while 15.9 million were underemployed (i.e., working between 20-29 hours per week).

While the unemployment rate increased, the underemployment rate, however, declined from 28.6 per cent in Q2 to 22.8 per cent.

Across the states, Imo reported the highest rate of unemployment with 56.6 per cent, followed by Adamawa and Cross River with 54.9 per cent and 53.7 per cent respectively. Osun had the lowest rate at 11.7 per cent.

Underemployment was more prevalent in Benue than elsewhere, with 43.5 per cent. Lagos had the lowest underemployment rate, with 4.5 per cent.

Meanwhile, the World Bank has estimated that about 600 million jobs will be needed by 2030 to absorb the growing global workforce.

According to  a report of the World Bank released recently, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) play a major role in most economies, particularly in developing countries. SMEs, it said,  account for the majority of businesses worldwide and are important contributors to job creation and global economic development. They represent about 90 per cent of businesses and more than 50 per cent of employment worldwide, it said.

The bank  further said that  formal SMEs contribute up to 40 per cent of national income (GDP) in emerging economies. These numbers are significantly higher when informal SMEs are included

In order to close this gap, SMEs development should be  a  high priority for many governments around the world because  most formal jobs are generated by SMEs, which create seven out of 10 jobs. 

However, access to finance is a key constraint to SME growth because it is the second most cited obstacle facing SMEs to grow their businesses in emerging markets and developing countries. 

“SMEs are less likely to be able to obtain bank loans than large firms; instead, they rely on internal funds, or cash from friends and family, to launch and initially run their enterprises. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) estimates that 65 million firms, or 40 per cent  of formal micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in developing countries, have an unmet financing need of $5.2 trillion every year, which is equivalent to 1.4 times the current level of the global MSME lending. East Asia and Pacific accounts for the largest share (46 per cent) of the total global finance gap and is followed by Latin America and the Caribbean (23 per cent) and Europe and Central Asia (15 per cent). The gap volume varies considerably region to region.

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