Oby Ezekwesili, presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), on Thursday said she would proffer lasting solution to the perennial unemployment challenges facing the country if she emerges in 2019.
Ezekwesili said this while reacting to the Q4 2017 to Q3 2018 job report released by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Wednesday.
According to the report, 20.9 million Nigerians became unemployed as Q3 2018 as against 17.6 million in Q4 2017.
Ezekwesili cautioned Nigerians against voting for “candidates that have no idea of how to solve the challenges facing the country.”
The ACPN presidential candidate said at least 80 million Nigerians would be lifted out of poverty by her administration.
She also said emphasis would be placed on building a rapidly expanding economy, which would be engineered by the private sector based on an economic structural change agenda.
She said her administration would implement a “productivity and competitiveness initiative” that would create new opportunities and jobs in some key sectors most especially the agricultural sector where more than one-third of Nigeria’s active labour population are found.
“There will be jobs from light manufacturing industries, construction, housing and public works, renewable solutions, services including trade, telecoms and technology, domestic tourism, and creative industries,” she said.
“These industries not only hold the key to putting more Nigerians to work but provides a much-needed boost to the nation’s productivity.
“Promoting and supporting these industries will occur through a mix of sound policies on trade, tax, infrastructure, skills, training, and research and development."
Ezekwesili blamed previous governments for focusing only on the formal sector and abandoning the informal sector.
“Unable to tackle the factors which lead to informality, such as low level of education, previous governments have chosen either to ignore the problem or militate against it. The informal sector also suffers low productivity due to high business costs which outstrip earnings.
“These barriers on them mean that those that work the hardest in our economies fail to earn a decent living.
“In order to revitalise key aspects of the economy and implement dramatic reform, the government will pay significant attention to the informal sector, as the principal creator of employment and as a catalyst for growth and development.” She said