President Muhammadu Buhari
Unemployment
Millions of Nigerians graduate from university unable to get jobs

By UCHE CHRIS and AYOOLA OLAOLUWA

The much expected Gross Domestic Product, GDP, which had been delayed sparking concern over the motive, was last week released by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, confirming fears of many people that the economy is in deep trouble. In fact President Buhari gave indication of this tow week ago when he warned the governors at a meeting that the economy was in trouble.
But not many people expected the depth of economic crisis until the GDP figures were released last week which put growth rate at a misery 1.8 percent and unemployment at 20.9 percent. According to the NBS, unemployment rate increased from 18.8 per cent in the third quarter of 2017 to 23.1 per cent in the third quarter of 2018.
The statistics bureau in a report Wednesday said the economically active or working age population (15 – 64 years of age) increased from 111.1 million in Q3 2017 to 115.5million in Q3 2018.
“The number of persons in the labour force (i.e. people who are able and willing to work increased from 75.94 million in Q3 2015 to 80.66 million in Q3 2016 to 85.1 million in Q3,2017 to 90.5million in Q3, 2018,” the report said.
“The total number of people in employment (i.e with jobs) increased from 68.4 million in Q3 2015, to 68.72 million in Q3 2016, to 69.09 million in Q3 2017 and 69.54 million in Q3 2018. The total number of people in full-time employment (at least 40 hours a week) increased from 51.1 million in Q3 2017 to 51.3 million in Q3, 2018.
“The total number of people in part-time employment (or underemployment) decreased from 13.20 million in Q3 2015 to 11.19 million in Q3 2016 but increased to 18.02 million in Q3 2017 and to 18.21 million in Q3 2018.” The report said the total number of people classified as unemployed, which means they did nothing at all or worked too few hours (under 20 hours a week) to be classified as employed increased from 17.6 million in Q4 2017 to 20.9 million in Q3 2018.
Of the 20.9 million persons classified as unemployed as at Q3 2018 11.1 million did some form of work but for too few hours a week (under 20 hours) to be officially classified as employed while 9.7 million did absolutely nothing, the NBS said.
“Of the 9.7 million unemployed that did absolutely nothing as at Q3 2018, 90.1% of them or 8.77 million were reported to be unemployed and doing nothing because they were first time job seekers and have never worked before.
“On the other hand, 9.9 million 0r 0.9% of the 9.7 million that were unemployed and doing nothing at all reported they were unemployed and did nothing at all because they were previously employed but lost their jobs at some point in the past which is why they were unemployed.
“Of the 9.7 million that were unemployed and did nothing at all, 35.0% or 3.4 million have been unemployed and did nothing at all for less than a year, 17.2% or 1.6 million for a year, 15.7% or 1.5 million had been unemployed and did nothing for 2 years, and the remaining 32.1
Experts expressed deep worries over this development and believe that the end year figures may be worse given the lack of attention to the economy as election gathers momentum. They describe this challenge as a time bomb and should not be allowed to explode, insisting that ordinarily President Buhari does not deserve re-election as the rising unemployment rate is indication of his failed economic policies.
“Performance of the economy is the barometer to measure the overall performance and electability of and government. No government or leader gets reelected with an economy as hopeless and bad as ours; but you know what it may not really count in this election” said Dr. Bongo Adi, faculty member Lagos Business School.
Already the political parties and their candidates have being trading words over this situation.
Although the president and APC have claimed that the economy has improved under their watch the PDP and its candidate Atiku Abubakar, accuse the government of mismanaging the economy with its obsolete policies of state control and debt.
Matters came to a head last week’s Wednesday during the budget presentation by President Buhari when the two parties engaged in a shouting match which almost marred the presentation.
Nigeria’s youth unemployment rate has continued to rise unabated, with experts describing it as a ticking time bomb waiting to explode and ultimately shake the nation to its foundation.
Data obtained by Business Hallmark shows that Nigeria’s unemployment rate is at an all-time high. More than 60% of the Nigerian population is currently unemployed or under employed. More alarming is the fact that mostly youths and energetic adults share the huge burden,
According to the latest report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released in December 2016, 3.67 million Nigerians became unemployed within a one-year period, October 2015 to September 2016.
The report said the number of unemployed Nigerians rose from 7.51 million in the beginning of the October 2015 to 11.19 million at the end of September 2016, while the general unemployed population rose from 55.21 million in the beginning of the fourth quarter to 69.47 million as of the end of September.
The NBS report showed that unemployment rate was highest for persons in the labour force between the ages of 15-24 and 25-34; and unemployment and underemployment were higher for women in the third quarter of 2016.
Underemployment occurs when a person works less than full time hours, which is 40 hours, but work at least 20 hours on average a week. Underemployment could also happen if a person works full time but are engaged in an activity that underutilises his skills, time and educational qualifications.
Checks by BH revealed that the situation is getting grimmer by the day as more businesses are daily shedding jobs to cut costs and optimize profit because of the current economic state of the nation. Banks and telecommunications companies added the most to the unemployment rate in 2016.
FBN Holdings sacked 1000 workers in May, Diamond Bank fired 200 staff and Ecobank Nigeria retrenched 1040 people in June the same year, while Zenith Bank PLC sacked about 240 people, including eight General Managers and 40 Assistant General Managers. The bank recently reported sacked almost 1000 staff.
Also in July 2016, 3000 workers lost their jobs in the shipping industry. Many oil companies, including Chevron, ExxonMobil, Pan Ocean and Ground Petroleum, followed suit by sacking about 3,000 oil workers.
Desperate Nigerians now scramble for the few available jobs, particularly government jobs on offer. In March 2016, the police website crashed in less than 24 hours after it went online due to heavy traffic of applicants. Within three weeks, over 550,000 applicants had indicated interest in the 10,000 jobs in the Force, with several weeks still left for more applications. At the end of the exercise, over one million applicants applied for openings in the Force but only 10, 000 were recruited.
The same scenario played out in June 2016 when the Federal Government’s newly launched Jobs portal, N-Power. gov.ng, recorded over 500,000 successful registrations, less than two days after it was declared open. This underscores the huge number of unemployed Nigerians, despite government assurance that the situation is under control and efforts to curb joblessness will pay off in 2017, with almost half of the year gone.
Efforts by successive governments to contain the problem have recorded little success, as youths, especially university graduates have continued to stream out with decreasing opportunities of employment.
Based on the data released by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Examination Board (JAMB), 1.7 million candidates are currently sitting for the ongoing 2017 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), as against 1,561,443 candidates that sat for the same examination in 2016. The figure has continued to rise in the last ten years.
While only 100, 000 or more normally gain admission, the rest jostle for admission into colleges of education and polytechnics. Yet after graduating, the successful ones don’t have any guarantee of getting jobs.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), at least, 1.8 million graduates in the country move into the labour market every year. The data was generated by NBS for the Federal Government in 2014 to ascertain the level of youth unemployment and to come up with policies to address it. However, a source at the bureau said that the figure should be hitting the 2 million mark by now.
Some analysts put part of the blame on the proliferation of universities from the 1980s at the detriment of professionally skill oriented institutions of the 1950s/60s. Millions of Nigerian youths graduate from the universities, polytechnics and other tertiary institutions every year, without any hope of finding job.
While painting a picture of the dire situation, a former Vice Chancellor of the Abia State University, Uturu, Prof. Agu Mkpa, said that youth unemployment is a time bomb that has the most broad-based devastating, most traumatic impact above all the societal ills facing the country.
“The danger of youth unemployment is that it is the harbinger of numerous other national ills. It is the root cause of many other social ills. If not quickly resolved, it could pose a threat to the nation’s development, security and peaceful co-existence”.
Also, a security expert who spoke with BH, Dr. Ona Ekhomu, said that Nigeria is experiencing insecurity largely due to joblessness. Ekhomu, who is the President, Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators on Nigeria, added that unemployment rate which has been rising consistently since 2014 will increase existing risk of insecurity and militancy in major parts of the country and undermine government’s efforts at fighting insurgency in the Northeast, militancy in the Niger Delta, uprisings in the Southeast and other serious crimes in parts of the country.
A former President of the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, while commenting on the high rate of unemployment and its implications for the country, called for urgent action by government. He attributed the high rate of unemployment to many factors such as high dependence on oil revenue and limited diversification of the economy.
“The impact of unemployment is already evident, as we look at general levels of militancy in the South South.

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