By Esenvosa Izah
The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has decried the nation’s spiralling unemployment rate, citing the population of the unemployed as exceeding the combined population of 35 of Africa’s 54 countries.
The union’s President, Mr Quadri Olaleye, and Secretary-General, Mr Musa-Lawal Ozigi, made the disclosure jointly in a statement, on Thursday, in Lagos, to herald the New Year.
According to them, the unemployment rate in Nigeria averaged 12.84 per cent from 2006 until 2020, reaching an all-time high of 27.1 per cent in the second quarter of 2020.
“You do not need to be a prophet of doom to predict that worse days are ahead if this government does not initiate and implement good economic policies that will bring about growth and create jobs.
“Nigeria’s job crisis does not exist in a vacuum; It is caused by perennial under-funding of some critical sectors, especially the education sector which is grossly under-funded.
“The education sector is like a “powerhouse” that supplies every other sector. Unfortunately, the government has never given 10 per cent of its annual budget even when UNESCO stipulates 26.5 per cent,” the union leaders said.
They urged the nation’s leaders to be patriotic by looking inward and ensure governance was done differently in the New Year, resulting in growth and development of the economy.
Both leaders also lamented that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow into the country had been ridiculously low.
“A report by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) states that FDI inflow in Africa dropped by 28 per cent in the last six months which is about $16 billion, compared to $23 billion over the same period in 2019.
“While Africa remains less affected by the COVID-19 virus in terms of the number of deaths, she has suffered deficit in investments.
“However, the economies of Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Morocco, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, among others, appreciated in terms of investments, job creation, and so on.
“Nigeria is our business and we must make it work,” the unionists said.