Nigerians want power, employment challenges tackled this year
The government has been urged to focus on building an inclusive economy and poverty alleviation this year. Experts who spoke on their expectations for the year made the call.
They lamented that the economy of the country has nosedived abysmally and that efforts must be put in place to salvage the situation.
Speaking with The Guardian, an energy expert, Muntasir Adamu, noted that the power sector, which serves as a major driver of the economy is expected to grow at 12.39 per cent between 2019 and 2024.
He said 2020 witnessed the introduction of the order on the capping of estimated billing, Siemens Roadmap (Transmission Recovery Program), Distribution Recovery Program (DISREP), the Service Reflective Tariffs Regime, National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) amongst other policies.
“We hope that NMMP would achieve its purpose of providing meters to all households in Nigeria. We also hope that the DISREP and the Siemens roadmap will bring the much-needed investment in power infrastructure,” he said.
He added that the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy has been enormous with the economy declining by 6.1 per cent year-on-year in the second quarter.
“Though there is a second wave, economic activity improved in the Q3 and Q4. We should see an improvement in the employment rate in the year 2021.”
A public policy analyst and communications specialist, Seun Awogbenle, identified unemployment as one of the greatest challenges facing the country.
He said: “Nigeria’s large population, particularly that of young people has not been maximised to create a prosperous economy. Unemployment at above 20 per cent is, perhaps, one of the worst in the country’s history. Most people who are willing and able to work are unable to get jobs while some of those who had jobs have become unemployed because of the impact of COVID-19.
“I believe that as we go into 2021, the digital ecosystem will provide an opportunity for Nigeria to redirect the economy. With a large youth population, the country is in a good position to maximise the digital ecosystem for economic opportunities, including employment.”
Awongbenle added that the security of lives was paramount in pushing the economy forward, adding that peace is a major prerequisite for prosperity.
“Where there is no peace and stability there cannot be development, peace is important particularly at this time of recession that the country needs to be self-sufficient with food production to meet local demands, discourage importation and ultimately protect the Naira from further loss of value, we cannot afford a situation where farmers can barely go to farms because they do not feel secure.
“I believe that as we go into 2021, there is nothing that will be more important than the need for a general sense of safety, this will require the government to embark on police reform, enhance the capacity of our fighting troops, inject fresh ideas into the fight against terrorism.
“No part of Nigeria must appear to have been ceded to bandits and kidnappers, Nigerians must be able to go to every part of the country unhindered and unperturbed.”
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