Bridging the Gap Between Surging Population, Job Creation
Economists are insisting that the growing disparity between population growth rate and the present capacity of the nation’s economy for employment generation must be urgently addressed to achieve economic stability, reports Festus Akanbi
One area that seems to have defied the impact of the modest gains in the nation’s economy over the years is youth unemployment. Individuals aspiring to political offices have always put it at the top of their priority lists while negotiating for votes during election, but the problem of unemployment has continued to stare the nation in the face.
Perhaps, it was the World Bank’s report of May 13 that eventually roused economic affairs commentators to the latest debate on the severity of the problem of unemployment in the country.
The World Bank, in its report, noted that Nigeria’s annual growth rates that average over seven percent in official data during the last decade place the nation among the fastest growing economies in the world. This growth has been concentrated particularly on trade and agriculture, which would suggest substantial welfare benefits for many Nigerians.
The report noted that improvements in social welfare indicators have been much slower than would be expected in the context of this growth. According to the World Bank report, this is because poverty reduction and job creation have not kept pace with population growth, implying social distress for an increasing number of Nigerians. Progress toward the fulfillment of many of the Millennium Development Goals has been slow, and the country ranked 153 out of 186 countries in the 2013 United Nations Human Development Index.
The World Bank further notes that, “Job creation in Nigeria has been inadequate to keep pace with the expanding working age population. The official unemployment rate had steadily increased from 12 per cent of the working age population in 2006 to 24 per cent in 2011. Preliminary indications are that this upward trend continued in 2012.”
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