The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has said the economic growth rate of 1.9 per cent was too low to make any appreciable impact.
Its president, Iyalode Alaba Lawson, said recent reports from the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew at 1.81 per cent in the third quarter (Q3) of last year, an improvement from the performance in Q2, which was 1.5 per cent but a fall from the performance in Q1 at 1.95 per cent.
Lawson who spoke at the annual general meeting (AGM) of the association in Lagos, said: “Our view is that this rate of growth is not enough. The economy needs an appreciable improvement in our growth rate. The Consumer Price Index recorded as at November 2018 showed an inflation rate of 11.28 per cent, indicating a continuous decline of the inflation rate which started from January 2018. With respect to the economic environment and the ease of doing business, Nigeria dropped one place in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business ranking, dropping from its 145th position to 146th out of 190 countries. The report showed poor performance in areas such as, electricity supply; dealing with construction permits; registering property; paying taxes; resolving insolvency; and trading across borders.”
Lawson insisted that unemployment remained a source of concern to the group, adding that NBS Labour Force Statistics Report for Quarter 3 showed that 20.9million were jobless. She said the report also showed that around 7.7million have been unemployed for a period ranging from between one and three years, with a rate of 90 per cent still looking for a first job.
She regretted that there has been a consistent increase in unemployment since the 6.4 per cent unemployment rate recorded in Quarter 4, 2014. She said it was particularly worrisome that the youth are hardest hit by unemployment in the country which has both political and social consequences.
She argued that high unemployment among the youth increases the incentives for them to join criminal gangs and network, including radical and extremists groups and also acts as a push factor for illegal migration to foreign countries.
She advised governments at all levels to intensify their efforts to create more jobs. According to her, this gave rise to the launch of NACCIMA Youth Entrepreneur to encourage the young people to go into entrepreneurship.