Nigeria Going Through Worst Unemployment Crisis -World Bank
Nigeria is currently going through one of its worst unemployment crises in recent times, a new report by the World Bank has stated.
The multilateral institution also noted that the socio-economic challenges facing Nigerians in the last 10 years have led to an astronomical increase in the number of citizens seeking asylum and refugee status in other countries.
This is as the World Bank, in a separate report, has estimated that about 4,000 Nigerian children were made orphans by the Covid-19 pandemic between March, 2020 and July, 2021.
The report, which expressed concern about the country’s rising unemployment situation, was published by the Washington-based institution with support from the Korea World Bank Partnership Facility (KWPF) and the Rapid Social Response (RSR) trust funds.
In the report titled, ‘Of Roads Less Travelled: Assessing the Potential for Migration to Provide Overseas Jobs for Nigeria’s Youth’, the World Bank further estimated that there were 2.1million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Nigeria in 2020 alone.
World Bank, however, blamed a combination of rising unemployment, booming demographics, and unfulfilled aspirations as resulting in increasing pressure on young Nigerians to migrate in search of gainful employment overseas.
In addition, the Washington-based institution disclosed that the number of international migrants from Nigeria has increased threefold since 1990, growing from 446,806 in 1990 to 1,438,331 in 2019.
It explained that despite this trend, the share of international migrants as a proportion to Nigeria’s population has remained largely constant, increasingly slightly from 0.5 per cent in 1990 to 0.7 per cent in 2019.
According to the bank, recent rise in irregular migration notwithstanding, the share of international migrants in Nigeria’s population was much lower compared to the shares in Sub-Saharan Africa and globally.
The data showed that the number has risen by over 1,380 per cent in the years between 2010 and 2019, indicating that in comparison, the number of persons coming into Nigeria from outside has been relatively stagnant in the decade under consideration
“An important trend that is observed in the data is the rise in the number of refugees and asylum seekers from Nigeria. The share of refugees and asylum seekers from Nigeria has increased drastically in the last decade, growing from 27,557 in 2010 to 408,078 in 2019,” it stated.
It noted that although the country was reaping dividends from the success of its citizens in the Diaspora, which was put at five per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2019, when it comes to the discourse on international migration, the narrative has not been palatable.
“Nigeria is facing one of the most acute jobless crises in recent times. Between 2014 and 2020, Nigeria’s working age population grew from 102million to 122million, growing at an average rate of approximately 3 per cent per year.
“Similarly, Nigeria’s active labour force population, that is, those willing and able to work among the working age population, grew from 73million in 2014 to 90million in 2018, adding 17.5million new entrants to Nigeria’s active labour force.
“Since 2018, however, the active labour force population has dramatically decreased to around 70million—lower than the level in 2014— while the number of Nigerians who are in the working-age population but not active in the labour force has increased from 29million to 52million between 2014 and 2020.
“The expanding working-age population combined with scarce domestic employment opportunities is creating high rates of unemployment, particularly for Nigeria’s youth,” the World Bank report noted.
However, between 2010 and 2020, the international financial institution estimated that the unemployment rate rose five-fold, from 6.4 per cent in 2010 to 33.3 per cent in 2020, with the rates being particularly acute since the 2015/2016 economic recession and further worsened as Covid-19 led to the worst recession in four decades in 2020.
Increasingly, it noted that educated Nigerians were struggling to find employment opportunities in the country while unemployment rates increased substantially for Nigerians across all education levels over the years, becoming progressively challenging for educated Nigerians to find employment opportunities.
“Combined with significant demographic changes and increased aspirations of the youth, Nigeria’s unemployment crisis is creating migratory pressure in the economy.
“Unemployment is considered to be a key driver of migration. Consequently, multiple surveys show that the number of Nigerians, who are looking to migrate internationally, is high and increasing,” it pointed out.
In the last few years, the bank stated that the number of persons eager to migrate has increased from 36 per cent in 2014, to 52 per cent in 2018, noting that the desire to migrate remains higher among unemployed (38 per cent), youth (39 per cent), secondary education graduates (39 per cent), urban residents (41 per cent) and post-secondary graduates (45 per cent) in Nigeria.
It maintained that since there has not been an expansion of legal migration routes for youth increasingly eager to find opportunities in the overseas labour market, young Nigerians are opting for irregular migration routes to realise their hopes for a better life.
“What is worrying, however, is the increase in the number of forced and irregular migrants from Nigeria,” it disclosed.
It stressed that to ensure mutual cooperation, the European Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF), which was established in 2015, with the aim to promote areas of mutual development interest between Europe and Africa, has since provided more than €4billion in aid to African countries to address various development-related challenges and priorities in Africa.
Since its inception, the EUTF, the bank stated, has provided more than €770million for migration-related projects in Nigeria, with most of the funds invested in border control measures, awareness campaigns to stop trafficking, and the creation of jobs domestically, including for returned Nigerian migrants.
While predicting that by 2100, Europe’s working age population between the ages of 20 and 64 would decline by 30 per cent owing to low birth-rates and increased longevity, it further projected that at same time, the working age-population in Nigeria could increase by 140 per cent.
“By expanding legal pathways for migration and implementing supporting measures to reap dividends from current migrants in the Diaspora, Nigeria can further benefit from international migration.
“Nigeria’s institutions are well-placed to promote managed migration approaches that help create opportunities for prospective Nigerian jobseekers to find employment internationally and can be supported to help design schemes that increase the returns to human capital investments for Nigerian youth,” the report concluded.
In a related development, the multilateral institution has estimated that 4,000 Nigerian children were made orphans by the Covid-19 between March, 2020 and July, 2021.
The report by the bank’s experts at the Imperial College of London, revealed that over 4,100 Nigerian children lost one or both primary caregivers within the aforementioned period, while 4,300 lost one or both primary and secondary caregivers.
The report posted on the bank’s blog was jointly authored by World Bank’s Lead Economist, Laura Rawlings and a senior technical advisor, Centre for Disease Control (CDC) Covid-19 International Task Force, Susan Hillis, and titled, “For every two Covid-19 deaths, one child loses a caregiver. We must do more to address the orphan crisis.”
The report stated: “The Covid crisis will leave many unwanted legacies. The world has been closely tracking the Covid-19 death toll, with official mortality counts now reaching over four million people, largely concentrated among adults. The children left behind have been practically invisible.
“Our estimates of the toll on children left behind, just released, are that for every two people, who die of Covid, one child is left orphaned, facing the death of a parent or grandparent caregiver, who had been living in their home.
“By the end of June 2021, because of Covid-19, our estimates show that nearly two million children under 18 years had lost a mother, father, and/or grandparent caregiver, who lived in their household.”
According to the experts, countries with primary caregiver death rates of at least one per 1,000 children include Peru (10.2 per 1,000 children), South Africa (5.1), Mexico (3.5), Brazil (2.4), Colombia (2.3), Iran (1.7), the USA (1.5), Argentina (1.1), and Russia (1.0).
They also noted that at the current rate, one child was being orphaned every 12 seconds due to a Covid-19-associated death, adding that the toll was growing.
The authors noted that the Covid-19 related deaths had a wide range of effects on the children from economic, developmental to psychological impacts, which would reverberate across generations.
According to them, children orphaned by Covid face a constellation of risks, which often arrive with rapid and broad consequences.
“The threats of poverty, malnutrition, displacement and separation from siblings or other family members, school dropout, depression, violence and child marriage can emerge suddenly from the Pandora’s box of Covid-19,” they said.
Nigeria had as of July 20, 2021, recorded about 2,128 Covid-19 deaths, suggesting that for every one death in the country, an average of two children become orphans.
Wike Dissolves Cabinet, Attributes RSG’s Success To Members’ Sacrifices
Governor Nyesom Wike has dissolved the Rivers State Executive Council, and expressed profound gratitude to the cabinet members for their service to the government and the state.
The governor announced the dissolution after the State Executive Council’s special valedictory session, held in Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Wike directed the commissioners to hand over government property in their custody to the Permanent Secretary or most senior director in their respective ministries.
He commended members of the cabinet for their immense sacrifices, commitment and dedication to service, which was responsible for the tremendous transformation the state had undergone in the past eight years.
“Everybody is saying today that we have done well, no one person did well, everybody did well. The governor alone cannot, on his own, be in charge of everywhere. The governor needs people who will work for him. All he does is, from time to time, find out whether things are moving on well or not.
“So, that I have done well, for me, is not about me. Those that are responsible for our state shining today, are all of you who are seated here, who have worked from morning till night. I want to sincerely thank you for the support.”
Wike said all those who served as cabinet members can confidently return home with their shoulders high, having successfully changed the narrative of governance in the country.
“Be happy to say, yes, I participated when they said Rivers State became one of the leading states in this country; when they said there was infrastructure revolution in the state, when they said we stood our ground and challenged the authorities. We stood our ground and fought the Federal Government, when we know they have violated the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The Rivers State governor recalled that at the inception of the administration in 2015, it was faced with series of challenges because of the hostility of the Federal Government, culminating in the nullification of the governorship, state and National Assembly elections.
“In 2015, when elections were nullified from State Assembly to National Assembly, to governorship, we remained undaunted. There were re-runs and re-runs, but God was on our side. We survived it, and we have never chickened out to speak the truth. We have never chickened out to say what we believe in, and we give God the glory. I want to sincerely thank all of you for your contributions.”
Wike described the immediate past administration as callous and vicious for looting state assets, and not formally handing over to his government.
He, however, thanked God for the privilege that he would be successfully handing over to the incoming Sir Siminialayi Fubara-led government on May 29.
The governor implored the cabinet members to conscientiously pray for the success of the incoming administration.
According to him, “All we need is to pray for the incoming government, support them. Where he finds you necessary to be part of his cabinet, do not disappoint us by saying no.”
In her valedictory remarks, the Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, thanked the governor for availing her the privilege to be the first female deputy governor since the creation of the state in 1967.
She said history will remember Wike for his gender-sensitive policy, which has paved way for another woman, Prof. Ngozi Ordu, to be her successor.
In his remarks, the former Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Dr. Tammy Danagogo, said he was proud to be part of the Wike-led transformational government that changed the landscape of the state with impactful infrastructure projects.
Similarly, the Head of Service, Barrister Rufus Godwins, said when Wike assumed office in 2015, the state purportedly had 54,472 civil servants on her payroll, but following the introduction of biometric system, the number has reduced to 39,451.
On his part, the former Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt, Engr Emeka Woke, thanked Wike for giving him the opportunity to serve the state under his administration.
Former Rivers State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor, SAN, said by virtue of his appointment, he had learnt how to apply law for public good.
Adangor commended Wike for recovering Rivers State oil wells from other states through the ministry.
The former Commissioner for Works, Dr Dakorinama Alabo George-Kelly, disclosed that over 920-kilometre roads and 600 kilometres of drains were constructed by the Wike-led administration since 2015.
Health Workers Declare Indefinite Strike
The Joint Health Sector Unions/Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (JOHESU), and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA) have declared an indefinite strike.
According to the aggrieved workers, the strike is as a result of the failure of the Federal Government to adjust the Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) and other demands.
JOHESU/AHPA is a conglomerate of four registered trade Unions which include Medical and Health workers’ Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP), Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIAI), and Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Associated Institution(NASU).
Declaring the indefinite strike on Thursday morning in Abuja, the Vice Chairman of JOHESU, Dr.OgbonnaChimela, said, “Consequent upon the nonchalant, bias and lackadaisical attitude of the Federal Ministry of Health against JOHESU members and the resolution of the expanded National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the unions held on Monday, May 8, 2023, our members in Federal Health Institutions nationwide are hereby directed to withdraw their services indefinitely commencing from 00.00 hour on Thursday, May 25, 2023.”
The unions had earlier on May 9 through a letter to the Federal Ministry of Health, giving the Federal Government a 15-day ultimatum to meet their demands.
Ogbonna said the issues in dispute were: Adjustment of Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS; payment of peculiar allowances to health workers; immediate and unconditional implementation of the Consultant Cadre circular for pharmacists in all federal health institutions; payment of withheld salaries of members in Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Owerri, Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) and outstanding April and May 2018 salaries of members in Federal Medical Centre, Azare; as well as payment of health workers excluded in payment of wage new hazard allowances.
He said the mode of payment of all health workers in Nigeria is Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) while Physicians are on the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS).
He said, “As at 2009, the Memorandum of Understanding at the inception of these two salary structures and subsequent Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Federal Government and the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) established strongly that once there is an adjustment in any of the salary structure, the other structure should be adjusted commensurately.”
The unions called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately approve and implement the technical committee report on the adjustment of the Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS).
They said “the unending vicious cycle of tyranny meted against members of affiliate of the Joint Health Sector Union members of the respective (JOHESU) in the health sector by the physicians dominated and oriented Federal Ministry of Health.”
The unions also called on the National Assembly especially Senators – elect and House of Representatives members — elect to only facilitate the appointment of seasoned administrators and managers of cognate experience as ministers in charge of the health sector.
“This remains the only way to normalize and do away with the perennial entropy that continue to engulf the health sector where productivity is at the lowest hub,” they said.
Presidential Poll Tribunal: Parties Disagree As Court Rules On Live Broadcast, Today
Ahead of today’s ruling on the application for live transmission of the proceedings of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, the Peoples Democratic Party, Labour Party and the All Progressives Congress have disagreed over the need for the hearing to be broadcast by the media.
The PDP and LP told The Tide source, yesterday that the live telecast of the court sittings would remove any doubts about the transparency of the judiciary and promote fairness, but the APC argued that it would not advance the course of justice.
The PDP and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, who came second behind the President-elect, Bola Tinubu in the February 25 election, had prayed the tribunal to broadcast its sittings live to Nigerians to enable them to have firsthand information of the processes that would guide the tribunal in determining the authentic winner of the contest.
Atiku and the PDP in an application dated May 5, filed by their counsel, Chris Uche, SAN, specifically prayed to the court for an order directing the court’s registry and the parties on modalities for admission of media practitioners and their equipment into the courtroom.
The LP and its standard bearer, Peter Obi filed a similar application through their lead counsel, Awa Kalu, SAN, in which they argued that Nigerians being stakeholders have a right to have real-time information about the election petition proceedings.
However, the Independent National Electoral Commission, the president-elect and the APC vehemently opposed the application, describing it as frivolous.
They argued that the application relates to policy formulation of the court, which is outside the PEPC’s jurisdiction as constituted.
Counsel for APC, Lateef Fagbemi, asked the court not to concede the request to turn the court into “a Big Brother electoral series.”
The counsel to the president-elect, Wole Olanipekun, SAN, noted that the live broadcast if approved, would expose both the judges and lawyers to danger while the counsel to INEC, Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN, argued that the application was needless since already, “the court is a public place and is accessible to all, subject to the availability of space.”
After hearing the arguments from all the parties last Thursday, the court reserved a ruling on the application till Monday (today).
But speaking on the issue ahead of the ruling, Obi is insisting on the live broadcast of the court proceedings.
Obi, who spoke to our correspondent through his media aide, Emeka Obasi, urged the tribunal to rule in favour of his application in the interest of transparency and democracy.
He said, “We are in the modern age where transparency is required. An election is being disputed by four political parties. To be fair and for equity, it is very much expected that processes are steamed live for people to follow. We are talking about over 200 million Nigerians. The courtroom cannot contain 1,000 people.
“Every interested Nigerian should be given the access to see for himself or herself the proceedings of the most important ruling in the history of the country. So, if we are practising democracy, the tribunal has nothing other than to approve the live streaming.”
Buttressing his principal’s arguments, the Spokesperson for Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Council, Yunusa Tanko noted that the approval of the live broadcast would build trust and restore “the hope of the common man as the judiciary is seen to be the hope of the common man, especially now that the judiciary is seen also to be on trial.”
PDP insists on broadcast
In a telephone conversation with The PUNCH on Sunday, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Debo Ologunagba gave strong reasons for the party’s demand for a live telecast of the hearing.
According to him, voters needed to be carried along by the tribunal throughout its sittings to give them a sense of participation.
He noted, “Live telecast is consistent with democracy because participatory democracy provides that the people have the right to know. As a party, we are saying that elections are a process, not an event.
‘’The Independent National Electoral Commission in its guidelines to the elections under the Electoral Act enjoins parties to be transparent and in most cases, what the political parties did were televised.’’
“The process which led to the emergence of the candidates which is an internal process of the parties was witnessed by INEC. That is a process. Starting from the party primaries to the sponsorship of candidates, everything was done in the open. The next part is the actual election conducted by INEC.
“INEC has been televising its processes-voting, collation, counting, announcement, and declaration of results were done in the open. In the presidential election, in particular, INEC’s collation and declaration of results were in the open and televised live worldwide.
‘’The other part of the election is the tribunal. Now, if the first two processes can be televised, we expect that the last one which involves the judiciary should be televised live,” he submitted.
Similarly, the Media Adviser to the PDP standard bearer, Mr Paul Ibe maintained that the live telecast would enhance the transparency of the court proceedings, stressing that it is of primary interest to Nigerians.
He added, “The live telecast is to give Nigerians, who were participants in the election as citizens, whether they voted or not, an opportunity to be part of the process. It (live telecast) is good for transparency too. All eyes are on the judiciary and what the tribunal will make out of it.
‘’We are of the view that the court should grant this request because it is one made on behalf of Nigerians regardless of their political affiliations. It will make sense for the process to be open to Nigerians. We don’t know what INEC is saying because it is acting as if it is a political party in the election. It should stop acting as if it is an agent of a political party.
‘’Let’s hope they are not hiding anything and in any case, what they are hiding is what they don’t want Nigerians to know. The commission conducted elections in the negation of its own rules. People should be able to see in real-time the tribunal’s proceedings.”
The supporters of the LP presidential candidate who took to social media on Sunday, are also insisting on a live broadcast of the proceedings of the court.
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