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Despite high earnings, Imo, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, record highest unemployment rates

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As Nigeria’s unemployment situation worsens, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Delta and Kaduna are among the worst hit states despite high internally generated revenue and huge federal allocations.

The National Bureau of Statistics, (NBS), said on Friday, that Nigeria’s unemployment rate rose to 27.1 per cent in the second quarter of 2020.

This is an increase from the 23.1 per cent recorded in the third quarter of 2018.

Specifics

According to the bureau, Imo State reported the highest rate of unemployment in the country with 48.7 per cent, followed by Akwa-Ibom State and Rivers State with 45.2 and 43.7 per cent respectively.

Trailing those three states is Delta with 40.3 per cent; Kaduna, 39.8 per cent; and Taraba 39.4 per cent.

Abia is the seventh-highest, with 35.5 per cent while Plateau (35.2 per cent) is the eight-highest.

The COVID-19 has devastated and thrown the economy into a disarray and some of the measures, particularly the closure of nonessential businesses – are having an unprecedented impact on the Nigerian economy.

Economic experts said economic activity is going to shrink with the ease of restrictions, but, the rise in aggregate unemployment figure, including, in some of the oil-rich states with high internal revenue and large share of the federal allocation, is worrisome.

A May report, by the NBS, showed that, in 2019, Rivers earned N140 billion, making it the second state with highest earning of internally generated revenue, behind Lagos, the commercial capital of the country.

Delta was listed as the fifth-highest and Kaduna the sixth, earning N64 billion and N44 billion respectively. Akwa Ibom was on a distant 8th with N32 billion.

Aside internally generated revenue by each of the state, about N2.5 trillion was shared among states as federal allocation in 2019, the NBS report shows.

Rivers, Delta and Akwa Ibom were still among the states that got the largest cuts.

Despite these earnings, the Friday report by the NBS said the aforementioned states rank among the top ten with highest rate of unemployment in Q2 2020.

Worrisome

Meanwhile, economic expert, Tope Fasua, linked the unemployment to depleting oil revenue globally.

“It could be as a result of the downturn in the global oil market. The oil sector’s (low) selling to international markets have led to layoffs and that could affect the (unemployment) numbers,” he said. “But the problem with the Nigerian economy is the waste.”

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“The government is not built around the people, but for the benefit of those who find themselves in government – either as top (or lucky) civil/public servants, political appointees or elected officials,” he argued.

He added that, “day by day, the art of diverting public resources for personal benefit is being perfected.”

“To many in this circle, it is no longer a big deal to take what is meant for 200 million people.”



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