An economist, Dr Aminu Usman, has advised the Federal Government to create at least three million jobs annually in order to address the high unemployment rate in the country.
Usman, who is a lecturer at the Department of Economics, Kaduna State University, gave this advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Abuja.
He said that the Federal Government initially promised to create three million jobs annually but in the last two years it had only generated less than a million jobs.
The don said the unemployment and underemployment reports for the last quarter of 2016 still showed the negative effects of the current recession on the citizens.
The latest unemployment reports released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), showed that the country’s unemployment rate rose from 13.9 per cent in the third quarter to 14.2 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Usman, however, argued that a number of factors must have contributed to the reports.
He said that one of the contributing factors was the unfriendly government policies towards managing the economy.
“When the recession began to hit hard on the State Government, it resorted to increasing taxes and imposing all kinds of charges on the citizens.
“This is against all known principles of managing recession, which requires lowering and or eliminating taxes to boost consumption.
“One of the first casualties of the recession is employment because of lower consumption rate; factory closure and job layoffs are the hallmarks of any economy in a recession’’.
The economist said that another factor that contributed to the high unemployment rate in the country was the adoption of what he called liberal economic policies, which he linked to the Bretton Woods institutions.
He said the Bretton Woods system of monetary management established the rules for commercial and financial relations among the United States, Canada, Western Europe, Australia and Japan in the mid-20th century.
According to him, the Bretton Woods institutions are the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“These liberal economic policies seek to make every available service offered by the government to be either commercialised or privatised, making it impossible for the average citizens to enjoy the services.
“By removing subsidy on petroleum products and the hike in electricity tariff means that small scale enterprises, which are arguably the largest employers of labour, would be hard hit.
“Being unable to survive the harsh conditions, they disengaged staff, which further constrained consumption.
“For as long as there is no synergy between economic policies pursued by the State Government and the Federal Government, the economy will continue to suffer,’’ Usman said.
According to him, underemployment is only natural in this situation Nigeria finds itself.
The NBS report further showed that the underemployed in the labour force in 2016 in the third quarter was 15.9 million persons or 19.7 per cent, while the fourth quarter was 17.03 million or 21.0 per cent.
He said that people had to make do with whatever job they had in order to make ends meet.
“The reality of the economy is that the little improvement reported with regards to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate, has not translated to improvement in the people’s quality of life.
“At the rate the country is going, unemployment can get worse because of the severe cash flow squeeze, which may reduce consumption significantly,’’ the don said. (NAN)