Without doubt, there is a direct correlation between poverty and unemployment as poverty is naturally one of the consequences of unemployment.”

These were the words of Nigeria Employers Consultative Association, NECA, at its 62nd Annual General Meeting, AGM, in Lagos, few days ago.

Reading the speech of NECA’s President, Dr Mohammed Yinusa (written before his sudden demise), 2nd Vice-President, Mauricio Alarcon, said among others: “A huge population ordinarily is a panacea for economic advantage.

However, this seems not to be so in our case. The National Bureau of Statistics’ report showed that youth unemployment rate averaged 23.63 per cent from 2014 until 2018, reaching an all-time high of 38 per cent in the second quarter of 2018.

It was, therefore, no surprise when it was reported that Nigeria overtook India as the country with the largest number of people living in extreme poverty. Without doubt, there is a direct correlation between poverty and unemployment as poverty is naturally one of the consequences of unemployment.

“We are also concerned with the rapid population growth in Nigeria. From a population of 45 million in 1960, Nigeria’s population stands at a staggering estimated 200 million in 2018. What makes this development worrisome is that as the population grows without corresponding economic growth, social vices grow.

Though we commend the various initiatives and social intervention programmes of government aimed at poverty alleviation, these are, by the Poverty Index, insufficient.

“As much as social interventions have their place in poverty alleviation, we charge government to deepen its intervention by creating an enabling environment for large, medium and small enterprises to thrive as the long-term solution to poverty include job creation, improved standard and quality of education, health and general wellbeing of our people, increased access to finance and policies that encourage investment. These remedies, in addition to current efforts, will significantly lift Nigerians above poverty level.”

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