The Central Bank of Nigeria has said 80 per cent of Nigerian youths are still unemployed.
This is despite the repeated release of figures by the National Bureau of Statistics showing that the Nigerian economy had been creating millions of jobs in recent years.
Only last week, the NBS announced that the economy created about 1.2 million jobs in the 2013 fiscal year.
But the Special Assistant on Sustainable Banking, CBN, Dr. Aisha Mahmood, on Thursday disclosed that unemployment was still a severe threat to Nigeria’s economy.
Mahmood spoke while delivering a paper on ‘Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principle’ during the 2014 World Environment Day programme organised by the Federal Ministry of Environment in Abuja.
She said, “As the population is growing, the resources that we all depend on, the food, energy, water, is declining. The demand for these resources will rise exponentially by the year 2030, with the world needing about 50 per cent more food, 45 per cent more energy and 30 per cent more water.
“In Nigeria, there is the issue of youth and employment. 70 per cent of the 80 million youths in Nigeria are either unemployed or underemployed. We are all witnesses to what happened recently during the immigration recruitment exercise and this is simply because 80 per cent of the Nigerian youth are unemployed.”
Although Mahmood noted that Nigeria’s economy remained the largest in Africa, she said that the country was using fossil fuel to achieve the growth trajectory.
She stated that the country’s economic growth was as a result of its abundant oil reserves, and warned that the flaring of gas from oil may negatively affect the citizens if not properly managed.
She said, “Nigeria has been flaring gas since the discovery of oil in the 1950s. We produce and burn about 20 billion cubic meters of gas annually and this is enough to meet our energy needs. Remember we said we didn’t have electricity, whereas we can provide electricity with this gas that we flare.
“Also, when we burn this gas, we produce green house gases that affect our livelihood and the livelihood of people that live around that area.”
Mahmood also lamented the high number of persons living below the poverty line in the country as well as the about 120 million persons in the country that lack access to electricity.
She said the above problems were major reasons why stakeholders in the financial sector came together to develop and adopt the Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principle.
In her remarks, the Minister of Environment, Mrs. Laurentia Mallam, explained that the 2014 WED was aimed at addressing climate change and the impact of the rising sea level on the environment.
She said, “In Nigeria, the impacts of climate change manifest in erosion and landslides in the East, drought and desertification in the North, rising sea levels in the coastal areas and flooding across the nation.
“The transformation agenda of Mr. President in the environment sector is aimed at addressing all forms of land degradation through specialised projects.”