The Chairman of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council, Prof. Doyin Salami, on Tuesday said Nigeria’s economic challenge is very significant and severe.
Salami who said at a webinar on privatisation organised by the Nigerian Stock Exchange, in collaboration with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council, added that to solve unemployment in Nigeria the federal government need to create 19 million jobs yearly.
He said, “Right now, Nigeria’s economic challenge is a very significant and potentially severe one. Yes, I know our economy hasn’t performed well; we have seen so far this year a contraction in the economy, and prospects are that for the rest of the year, the economy will continue to contract.
“If Nigeria’s economy is going to grow, investment is going to be at the heart of that growth. Up until now, our attention has typically been focused on the Federal Government especially in terms of the balance of its recurrent and capital spending.”
Salami who is a foremost economist explained that Nigeria currently has an investment to GDP ratio of between 15 to 18 per cent.
He said, “If we are going to make any meaningful progress, we need an investment to GDP ratio that does not fall at any time perhaps over the next decade below 25 to 30 per cent. So, no matter how we look at it, investment is going to be the fundamental catalyst for growth.”
He also said the rate of underemployment and unemployment in the Nigerian labour force stood at around 54 per cent.
“When you look at it in terms of the youth element of our labour force, it is somewhere around 64 per cent. More than half of Nigeria’s labour force is either unemployed completely or underemployed.
“Now if we are going to remedy this, Nigeria needs to be creating roughly 19 million jobs. If we are going to do that, it cannot be the responsibility of the government sector. The whole revenue profile of the government sector in Nigeria, federal and state, is somewhere around 10 per cent,” Salami said.