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Bloomberg Report: Atiku recommends ways to address unemployment

by Salami Azeez

A Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has recommended incentivised education, single exchange rate and reduction in tax, as means of addressing unemployment in Nigeria.

Abubakar gave the recommendation in a statement he personally issued to newsmen on Sunday in Abuja.

The recommendation was against the backdrop of a report from Bloomberg Business.

The Bloomberg Business of Saturday, March 27, 2021 had reported that the country had emerged as the nation with the highest unemployment rate in the world, at over 33 per cent.

According to him, the fastest way to bring down a world record unemployment rate was through incentivised education, saying an educated citizenry is more employable and more independent.

“Increased education has been scientifically linked with lower rates of crime and insecurity, along with lower infant and maternal mortality and a higher lifetime income.

“We must then incorporate those youth who are above school age into a massive public works programme.

“There was talk of 774,000 Special Public Works jobs for the youth, which was to have started in January 2021.

“This is a commendable step, but it must be done with proper agenda.

“Perhaps we may want to consider the Malaysian model, whereby with the exception of very few highly specialised jobs, foreign contractors are not allowed to import labour into the country,” he said.

Abubakar said Nigeria also needed to do three things urgently to encourage capital inflow and foreign direct investment.

“First, Nigeria must move toward a single exchange rate to be determined by market forces.

”Second, the Federal and State Governments must reduce taxes, to make Nigeria more business friendly.

“Finally, financial and monetary institutions, like the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Securities and Exchange Commission, must be free from the type of political influence that resulted in the prohibition of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies,” he stated.

Abubakar noted that youth unemployment was one of the consequences of the unprecedented insecurity the country was facing.

“Idleness is the worst feature of unemployment because it channels the energy of our youth away from production and toward destruction,” he stated.

“If we can get the 13.5 million out of school Nigerian children into school, we will turn the corner in one generation.

“If we do not do this, then the floodgates of unemployment will be further opened next year and in the years to come,” he said.

He urged Nigerians to assist the government in tackling the challenges, especially given the situation where the country had simultaneously, the highest poverty level, out of school children and highest unemployment rate in the world.

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