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Alarm as NECA projects 35 percent unemployment rate

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Alarm as NECA projects 35 percent unemployment rate in Nigeria

 

By John Eche

 

There is considerable alarm over the projection by the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) that the rate of unemployment in Nigeria may spike to 33.5 percent by 2020.

Premising its claim on what it describes as the rate at which many companies were shutting down, unappealing policies by the nation’s financial managers and the lack of jobs for Nigeria’s increasing population, the group says the nation could top its current unemployment figure of 23.1 per cent by over 10 percentage points in the coming year.

Making its view known on the subject recently, the Director-General, NECA, Timothy Olawale, says the way out is for the authorities to ensure that policies focus most squarely on job creation.

Advocating a radical adjustment towards upscaling industrialisation in Nigeria, he asserted that this has become most urgent on account of the fact that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) would soon kick off fully on all fours.

“There is no better time for the government to focus on a radical industrialisation of the country to make it the hub of economic activities in the West African sub-region and also ensure Nigeria benefits maximally from the AfCFTA, than now.

“We have consistently taken the lazy path of tax increases that stifle and further burden businesses rather than the ingenious way of promoting and stimulating production.

“The government should demonstrate a bold attempt to industrialise the country and take it out of the woods by embracing a major policy shift from just focusing on taxation.

“What our economy requires now are radical far-reaching policies like the abolition of the Value Added Tax on real estate sales, financial services and domestic airlines ticket sales and abolishing capital gains tax on sales of shares and import duty on spare parts.

“Reduction of VAT on small traders to three per cent, abolition of import duty on machinery and raw materials, among many others, will directly stimulate production and create wealth for the nation and its citizenry.”

Economy watchers contacted by The Difference to comment on the concern raised by the employers’ body were unanimous that the current state of unemployment in the country was indeed troubling.

The National Bureau of Statistics’ last released formal report of unemployment figures in the country was in relation to Q3 2018. No reason has been given for why fresh figures have not been released since then.

Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy.

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