From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
National Economic Summit Group (NESG), yesterday berated Nigeria’s high rate of joblessness and poverty, saying that it is a function of low productivity of employment-elastic sectors. These employment sectors include agriculture, manufacturing, construction and trade.
Speaking at the National Economic Dialogue on “Critical Challenges Confronting the Nigerian Economy” in Abuja, Chairman of NESG, Mr Asue Ighodalo, hazarded that unless the critical binding growth constraints facing these sectors are addressed, their capacity to create more job opportunities and decent employment will weaken.
“Macroeconomic instability is characterised by high inflation, volatile exchange rates; weak external reserve; rising public debts, deteriorating trade balance and the misalignment between the monetary policy rate and other interest rates. These unfavourable macroeconomic conditions constitute a disincentive to investors,” he said.
According to him, over the years, Nigeria’s human capital deficit and skills gap could be attributed to inadequate funding for social sectors (education and health sectors) and limited capacity to harness human capital potential. On the national security, Ighodalo posited that if it were not checked, the recurrence of community and personal insecurity would continue to threaten macroeconomic stability in Nigeria.
So far, he highlighted that weak economic competitiveness has remained a crucial concern for investors and businesses in Nigeria as they face obstacles that threaten their survival and expansion.
“We are at a significant crossroad. This is a moment in our national history where we need political leaders who think globally and act locally to tackle seemingly intractable development problems to emerge,” he said, adding that the emergence of such enlightened leadership is what Nigerians desperately need now.
In his presentation of the state of the Nigerian economy, Head of Research, NESG, Dr Segun Omisakin, painted a gloomy picture of the economy, saying that the nation is struggling with high unemployment rate and weak economy, a situation that positioned it at 133 out of 133 in the world economic record.