Employers want polices focused on development, job creation
• Unemployment to reach 33.5% by 2020
With the unemployment rate as high as 23.1 percent, underemployment at 16.6 percent and expected to reach 33.5 percent by 2020, employers have urged the Federal Government to ensure that fiscal and monetary policies focus on sustainable enterprise and job creation.
They also called for rapid economic development, premised on wide-range consultation with critical stakeholders. Employers, under the aegis of The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), called for concerted efforts to equip officers of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to live up to its responsibilities of protecting the nation’s borders and nip smuggling in the bud.
This is coming on the heels with the recent announcement by government extending the closure of the land borders till January 31, 2020.Director-General of NECA, Timothy Olawale, stated that coordination and management of fiscal policies should be geared towards enterprise competitiveness, job creation and alleviating poverty as against impoverishing the people by such policies of the government.He said despite the many merits that come with the border-closure, they are concerned that the policy comes without any palliative for legitimate local businesses, which negate the attempts at alleviating poverty and reduce unemployment.
The continuous closure, according to him, possesses the capacity to render many Nigerians jobless and hungry. The policy, he said, was more consistent with income generation and not in agreement with the harsh effect it has on households, businesses and investors’ confidence in general.
Since the begining of the border closure, Olawale averred that prices of goods, especially food items had increased tremendously, making the average Nigerian vulnerable, noting that 70 percent of poor households budget is spent on food.
“While we acknowledge the trade imbalance between Nigeria and its neighbours and the security challenges facing the country currently, the citizen’s welfare and business prosperity should not be sacrificed for the inefficiency of our border policing.
“On the need to address the fundamental challenge of smuggling and insecurity, government must take a broader look at the fundamentals of its assumptions that led to the decision to close the borders.
“Government should not stifle legitimate businesses because of the inefficiency of the Customs service to keep the borders safe. If the borders are safe and government enforces the bilateral and multilateral agreements it had signed with other countries, there won’t be any need to close the borders,” he said.
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