Despite Nigeria’s Economic Growth, Few Have “Good Jobs”

November 22, 2013 • Nigeria, Daily Email Recap

Despite Nigeria’s Economic Growth, Few Have “Good Jobs”
Almost nine in 10 employees are not engaged in their work
by Kolawole Mudele

SAN FRANCISCO — Just 9% Nigerians in 2012 said they work full time for an employer — a key measure of “good jobs” that Gallup refers to as “Payroll to Population” or P2P. By contrast, a sizable percentage of Nigerians are underemployed or work as “casual” laborers. Nigeria’s P2P rate is low even relative to other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, although its per-capita GDP of $2,420 is above the $1,580 median among 27 countries Gallup surveyed in the region. This seeming contradiction underscores that the country’s growth rests primarily on oil production and does not necessarily imply economic opportunities are expanding for most residents.

Economically, sub-Saharan Africa is now the second fastest-growing region worldwide. Though growth patterns vary substantially within the region, Nigeria is one of the oil-based economies driving the subcontinent’s economic growth. The country’s oil sector continues to see average annual growth of about 8%, compared with -0.35% for its non-oil sector. Annual growth rates in Nigeria have averaged more than 7% in the last decade, making it one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

According to a recent report by the Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights in Nigeria, 45% of the Nigerian workforce relies on “casual” employment, including low-skilled informal and/or intermittent occupations. Employers are increasingly filling formerly permanent positions in their organizations with casual employees.

Further, improvements in social welfare indicators in Nigeria have been much slower than would be expected in the context of the country’s economic growth. As a 2013 World Bank report outlined, “Poverty reduction and job creation have not kept pace with population growth, implying social distress for an increasing number of Nigerians.” With more than two-thirds of population living on less than $1.25 per day, Nigeria ranks 153 out of 186 countries in the 2013 United Nations Human Development Index.

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