By Nsan Ndoma-Neji, Calabar
The senator representing Cross River South senatorial district, Senator Gershom Bassey, has raised the alarm over the escalating rate of unemployment hitting the country’s citizens, stressing that statistics available showed that 55 million Nigerians live in abject property.
Senator Bassey made the remarks while fielding questions from journalists yesterday on the unemployment rate in the country.
He said, “Nigeria’s current economic growth patterns are not providing adequate employment and quality of life, especially for young persons, who may lack necessary skills and training.”
The federal lawmaker, who before the interaction had once raised a motion on the floor of the Senate, spoke on the need for priotization of sustainable youth-oriented human capital development for long term socio-economic growth.
He added, “The need for sustainable programmes for youths development and empowerment in Nigeria is now to check current slide.
“By the fourth quarter of 2020, Nigeria’s unemployment rate increased to 33.3 per cent from 27 per cent in second quarter and Nigeria now ranks second on the unemployment global list.
“This was not acceptable and one in three of Nigeria’s 69.7 million work force are unemployed, consisting of predominantly young persons, aged 25-44, hence the time has come for an urgent intervention to get Nigerian youths gainfully empowered or employed.
Bassey, who doubles as the chairman of the Cross River State Caucus at the National Assembly stated that inflation has accelerated at it’s highest pace in 15 years, a situation he said is worsening the economic conditions of millions of Nigerian youth.
To the lawmaker, “Food inflation has accelerated at its highest pace in 15 years, worsening the economic conditions of millions of Nigerian youths, of which more than 55 million now live in extreme poverty.
“It was sad that in the wake of the one-year anniversary of the #EndSARS protests, many of our youths still feel despondent as statistics show that poverty, unemployment and insecurity are on a steady rise.”
The lawmaker averred that countries like China prioritized large-scale investments in physical and human capital during the 1960s and 1970s, focusing on areas such as education, technology and industrial job creation, stressing that today China has almost eliminated illiteracy among its 1.3 billion population.