20m Nigerians unemployed, says Ngige
From the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, yesterday came the stark revelation that some 20 million unemployed persons exist in the country.
Also yesterday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, disclosed that in the last four days, no fewer than 37 companies had indicated interest to invest in the nation’s refineries and the downstream sector of the petroleum industry.
At a parley between the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Working Committee (NWC) and members of the party’s state executives on the deregulation of the industry, Ngige expressed optimism that the unemployment situation in the country would be reversed since 30 per cent of the 2016 budget was dedicated to the execution of capital projects.
He maintained that there would be a drastic reduction in the unemployment level with the decision by government to deregulate the petroleum industry.
Blaming misgovernance over the years for the economic downturn in the polity, the Labour Minister enjoined the citizenry to support the decision since it was aimed at repositioning the country.
Faulting the strike action embarked by the Ayuba Wabba-led faction of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Ngige noted that: “Subsidy was stopped by a House resolution in the Seventh Senate. From 1999 till now, there was a previous government that didn’t save for the rainy day, they didn’t. This means that if you were eating three times a day, you will eat two now. When I was a child, I recall that we used to eat rice on Sundays.
“Don’t let them deceive you. There is no subsidy removal. Capital expenditure will create jobs though not white-collar jobs that will be few. Government is all about income and expenditure. There is no way we can spend what we don’t have,” Ngige clarified.
Mohammed, who spoke in the same vein, stressed that the adoption of the measure was in the best interest of Nigerians just as he recalled that government had to pay N1 trillion to settle subsidy claims in 2015.
He further stated that contrary to widely held views, government only liberalised the downstream sector of the petroleum industry.
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