By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
THE organized labour, Friday demanded that the federal government should reduce the budget overhead cost by reviewing the allowances and jumbo pay of the members of the National Assembly and political appointees.
The demand was contained in a statement by the President of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, in Abuja.
The NLC boss who was reacting to the recent statistics of unemployment, also demanded that the security vote of state governors be subjected to auditing by the federal auditor general with report made available and accessible for scrutiny where so required, contending that through this it is expected that more revenue will be available for spending to boost the real sector.
Wabba further advised the government to live up to its responsibility of managing the welfare and security of its citizens through programs and policies that give measurable output which must be adequately reflected and supported by the budget and the medium term expenditure framework.
He said, “The Nigeria Labour Congress commends the National Bureau of Statistics for its consistency in living up to its mandate of providing relevant statistical information and data on Nigeria’s economy.
“The recent report on unemployment and underemployment for the third quota of 2018 indicates that in general the number of persons unemployed in the country has increased by 3.3million year on year from 17.6million in Q3 2017 to 20.9million in Q3 2018.
“In addition, underemployment which decreased from 13.20million in Q3 2015 to 11.19million in Q3 2016 has in two increased to 18.21millioon in Q3 2018.
“Further indicating that the combined rate of unemployment and underemployment increased from 40.0% in Q3 2017 to 43.3% in Q3 2018.
“Beyond the increase in the size of the labour force as a possible cause of the unemployment, we are worried that the increasing pool of graduates, skilled and semi-skilled youth in the unemployment market especially the increase in rural unemployment even as we celebrate a boost in food production is an indication of the sluggishness of the economy to actively diversify beyond oil, extractives and primary agricultural production.
“It is more worrisome that as unemployment/underemployment increase so is the general increase in social vices and criminalities around the country where the youth are the most common perpetrators.”
He said that the congress was concerned that the number of women in the unemployment/underemployment which is currently 6.6 percent higher than that of men was partly an indication of the increasing vulnerability of families as poverty and cost of living increase and the economy was yet to fully recover from recession.