Nigeria’s dependence on oil responsible for high unemployment rate’

Aug 17, 2018
Nigeria’s dependence on the oil sector as its major source of foreign exchange earnings was responsible for the country’s high unemployment rate, a former United Nations Permanent Representative and Under Secretary-General to the world body, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, as well as heads of other organisations, have said.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the nation’s unemployment rate had soared steadily from 7.5 percent in the first quarter of 2015 to 18.8 percent in the third quarter of 2017.

Gambari, while speaking at the 2018 Leadership Impact and Sustainability Awards in Abuja on Wednesday, called for the need to diversify the nation’s economy, noting that earnings from crude oil sales were no longer sustainable.

He said the sector was not capable of providing employments for the growing unemployed population in the country.

The former representative of the world body pointed out that the instability in crude oil prices occasioned by geo political tensions has shown it was improper to depend on the sector as a major source of revenue generation.

“We can’t afford to fully embark on the process of diversifying the Nigerian economy. This is because revenue from crude oil sale is no longer sustainable.

“And for us to diversify, we have to invest in research and development so as to acquire the right knowledge and skills. We cannot continue to depend on crude oil for our foreign exchange earnings. When you look at it critically, how many people does the oil sector employ?

“You will agree with me that the biggest challenge we have now is youth unemployment, not just in Nigeria, but in Africa and to some extent globally.

“So we have to diversify into the industrial sector, service provision, research and development, education and agriculture, because those are the sectors that have the capacity to employ more people,” he said.

In June, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma, while giving a breakdown of the 2018 Budget had said a total of N2.99 trillion was projected as funding in the Budget from oil revenue.

The amount indicates about 42 percent of the total of N7.1 trillion revenue funding estimated in the budget.


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