VENTURES AFRICA – Contrary to popular belief that a large number of Nigerians are unemployed, fresh facts from the World Bank’s ‘Nigeria Economic Report’ reveals the country’s employment challenge is lays more in line with underemployment than unemployment.
World Bank’s Acting Country Manager, Mr. John Litwack, explained that a large number of Nigerians are engaged in low productivity and low paying jobs as most Nigerians cannot afford not to work. He says unofficial assessment using the International Labour Organisation methodologies would suggest that the unemployment rate in the country was less than 10 per cent compared to the 25 percent figure presented by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics early this year.
The World Bank report also noted that poverty in Nigeria has significantly reduced but remains prevalent in the rural areas. It revealed that only 33.1 percent of the country’s 169 million population are living below the acceptable poverty level.
The National Bureau of Statistics, in its February report, said the country’s poverty level stands at 113 million (62.6 percent).
However, Litwack, who is also the lead author of the new report points that improved security, increase productivity in agriculture as well as better access to infrastructure and market access could help put northern regions on a strong path toward poverty reduction.
The World Bank also predicted a 7.4 percent growth rate in the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) this year but says macroeconomic risks remains due to the uncertain future of oil output, oil prices, and short-term capital flows.