The vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Peter Obi, has described the report of worsening unemployment situation in the country as very saddening.
He said what is required at the moment is a complete change of approach to economic policies and a more aggressive effort to provide jobs for millions of Nigerians.
This is coming as the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, has explained that although the unemployment figures released recently by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) indicated an increase in the unemployment rate, it is not the same thing as job losses
The former Anambra state governor who spoke to some journalists in Abuja yesterday said the present All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration has not done the right thing to arrest the surge in unemployment rate.
He said base on the latest report released by NBS, the number of Nigerians that are employable is now 115 million and the number working is about 70 million.
“So, there is a gap of about 40 million that are supposed to be working that are not working.
“For me the first expression is sadness. You know that I have always said that this election will be strictly about issues that concerns ordinary Nigerians; issues about the voiceless 87 million poor people living in Nigeria, issues about the millions of unemployed people in the country.
“I think the most critical issue for Nigeria today is how do we start pulling those 87 million people out of poverty and how do we ensure that millions of unemployed Nigerians to get jobs,” he said.
“The economic architecture is faulty. There are areas you need to focus; there are areas you need to sincerely support which is not happening.
“I said the other day during the political debate that in 2014, the overall unemployment and under employment is under 24 per cent but now it’s 40 per cent. Then unemployment was 12 per cent, it moved to 18.8 per cent and now it has gotten worse. So we need to do something aggressively to start turning it around,” Obi added.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, has explained that although the unemployment figures released recently by NBS indicated an increase in the unemployment rate, it is not the same thing as job losses. The minister said the increase in the unemployment numbers was not because jobs have not been created by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, but was as a result of the shortfall in the rate of new job creation opportunities vis-a-vis the rate of new entrants into the job market.
According to a statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Communication to the minister, Mr. Akpandem James, Udoma said employment growth usually slows down during a recession and takes some time to recover.
However, he assured Nigerians that government is working hard to ensure that many more jobs are created so that the rate of job creation runs much faster than the rate of new entrants to the job market.