Nigeria’s population crosses 200m mark, but 23.1% can’t find job

Nigeria’s population has now climbed to 201 million in 2019, figures compiled from the State of World Population Report released by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) show.
According to the data by UNFPA, a UN organisation that focuses on population activities around the world, more than half of Nigeria’s total population falls in the working age bracket.
Africa’s most populous nation has 54 percent of its total population within the age bracket 15 – 64 years old; this is spurred by the 2.6 percent average annual growth rate the country has reported in the last nine years.
“Nigeria has a dynamic economy and a large population expected to double in the next two decades,” UNFPA said.
The recent data by UNFPA are in line with the projections of an earlier report in 2017 by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, which projected that Nigeria will overtake US and become world’s third most populous country by the year 2050.
Although Nigeria is currently the seventh most populous nation in the world, with more than two decades to the projection of 400 million, the country has already attained more than half of the UN forecast.
The large population of the country, which many economists have said is a huge opportunity, owing to its young people who provide market for the foreign and locally manufactured products, also comes with its nightmares.
Nigeria’s almost 3 percent annual population growth rate leaves the country’s 1.93 percent GDP growth for the full year 2018 anything not desirable.
GDP growth has underperformed population growth since 2015, according to data compiled by BusinessDay, following the collapse in oil prices.
Most recent data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show that Nigeria’s unemployment rate ballooned to a nine-year high of 23.1 percent in the third quarter of 2018.
Unemployment is the proportion of those in the labour force who was actively looking for work but could not find work for at least 20 hours during the reference period, to the total currently active population, as defined by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
“Unemployment rate will not reduce when the country is producing more than it can feed. It would require about 6-8 percent or more in GDP growth for there to be a decline in the continuous rise of unemployment in the country,” Bismarck Rewane, managing director of Lagos-based Financial Derivatives Company, said.
The state-funded stat office is scheduled to publish its job creation and labour force statistics on Friday, May 10, 2019, which will show unemployment and underemployment data for Q4 2018 and Q1 2019, as deduced from the agency’s data release calendar.
However, BusinessDay analysis of the population data by UNFPA reveals that the 54 percent of the economically active or working age population (15 – 64 years) represents 108.54 million people of the 201 million.
This means that the labour force, the number of people who are able and willing to work may have also increased and as such unemployment rate may have also risen or vice versa, depending on the number of people that were able to get job in the review period.
The Federal Government plans to provide at least 15 million jobs for Nigerians by the year 2020 as captured in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) – designed by government to help the country fight its worst economic downturn in a quarter of a century.
Unless the real economy feels the direct impact of government interventions geared towards stimulating investments into the economy and by extension boosting business activities, the unemployment rate may maintain its upward trend,” Chinwe Egwim, macroeconomist and fixed income analyst at FBNQuest Merchant Bank, said.