Issa Aremu, general secretary, National Union of Garments and Textile Workers of Nigeria (NUGTWN) and vice president of Industrial Global Union (IGU) has said the latest unemployment figures in the country indicate crisis in the management of the economy.
Aremu said the latest figures by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which showed that 7.53 million out of Nigeria’s labor force of 85.08 million are unemployed (absolutely doing nothing) once again confirm the crisis of governance and underdevelopment in Nigeria.
“If we had the army of underemployed, the crisis of unemployment has assumed tragic proportions in forms of various mass crimes, as restless youths swell the ranks of kidnappers and insurgents.
All tiers of government must rise to promote development through re-industrialization, uninterrupted electricity supply and war against smuggling which had made the products of local industries uncompetitive,” he pointed.
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To this end, he called for a bipartisan employment drive in the country.
“Sustainable jobs can only come from industry and massive public infrastructural development such as railways, roads construction, reinvention of public schools and hospitals. Mass unemployment means value-subtraction for Nigeria at a time when there is much work to be done and the nation is begging for growth and development.
“ All the issues in unemployment crisis are governance issues which task the responsibilities and sensitivities of the federal as well as state governments in the federation,” he noted.
The former deputy president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) said it was worrisome that the few employed are in subsistence farming and informal.
The NBS said the total number of people in full-time employment (at least 40 hours a week) declined from 52.7 million in the second quarter 2017 to 51.1 million in third quarters.
It also said the unemployment rate increased from 14.2 per cent in the fourth quarter 2016 to 16.2 per cent in second quarter 2017 and 18.8 per cent in the third quarter, 2017.
“The number of people with the labour force who were in unemployment or underemployment increased from 13.6 million and 17.7 million respectively in the second quarter 2017, to 15.9 million and 18.0 million in the third quarter 2017.
“Total unemployment and underemployment combined increased from 37.2 percent in the previous quarter to 40.0 per cent in the third quarter”.
This was at variance with the submission of Chris Ngige, minister of labour and employment, who said president Muhammadu Buhari’s government has created more than seven million jobs in the agriculture sector in the last two and half years.