The unemployment rate may increase from 23.1 percent to 33.5 percent by 2020, the Federal Government announced on Thursday.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, disclosed this while declaring open a two-day workshop on breaking the resilience of high unemployment rate in the country in Abuja.
He described the incessant increase of unemployment in the country was alarming.
The Minister said the high unemployment rate of 23.1 per cent, and underemployment of 16.6 per cent presented by the National Bureau Statistics (NBS) in its 2019 report was alarming.
Ngige said: “It is a worrisome status as the global poverty capital (World Bank, 2018) and concomitant high prevalence rate of crimes and criminalities, including mass murders, insurgency, militancy, armed robbery, kidnappings, drug abuse, among others.
“As if this situation is not scary enough, it is projected that the unemployment rate for this country would reach 33.5 per cent by 2020, with consequences that are better imagined, if the trend is not urgently reversed.
“It is a thing of joy to note that Nigeria has not been resting on her oars over the years in terms of dedicated efforts to curb the unemployment problem”.
The Minister said further that various government social intervention programmes targeted at reducing youth unemployment and eradicating poverty have been implemented by different administrations since independence.
According to him, available records show between 1972 to date, about 14 different social intervention programmes have been implemented, including the National Accelerated Food Production Programme (NAFPP), implemented between 1972 and 1973 and the current National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), which has been on-going since 2017, embedded in the National Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020.
Despite this, he lamented unemployment rate and poverty levels have been on a steady path of growth, indicating high resilience against the intervention efforts.
He called for a collaborative mechanism that would yield desired results while assuring that the recommendations from the workshop will receive prompt and sustained attention.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, William Alo, said the workshop was aimed at examining issues around the persistent high unemployment rate in Nigeria with a view to making concrete recommendations on how to tackle the menace.
He said: “The fact remains that the consequences of high unemployment rate in Nigeria affect each and every one of us as individuals and as members of the Nigerian societies.
“The objectives of this workshop are, therefore to present the findings of the survey on how to break the Resilience of High Unemployment Rate in Nigeria to the peer community.
“To stimulate actions towards exploiting untapped available options for massive job creations; to chart way forward on immediate next steps that would yield measurable results”.
Country Director of the International Labour Organisation in Nigeria, Danis Zulu, said unemployment was a major concern to the ILO, especially in Nigeria with significant proportion of unemployed youth.