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The current index is another wake-up call

The federal government must be concerned that despite the assumptions that informed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Naira redesign policy, inflation is still on the rise. The consumer price index (CPI), which measures the rate of change in prices of goods and services, surged to 21.82 per cent in January 2023, up from 21.34 per cent in the previous month. Going by the CPI reportreleased last Wednesday by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigeria’s misery index has soared by 11.9 percentage points to 73.05. This should be disturbing for all relevant stakeholders while the authorities must begin to find solution to what could engender a national upheaval.    

According to Steve Hanke, an economist at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, United States who developed the misery index to assess the degree of hardships faced by citizens in their country, it is “the sum of the unemployment, inflation, and bank lending rates, minus the percentage change in real GDP per capita. Higher readings on the first three elements are ‘bad’ and make people more miserable.” And as the index rightly explained, the country’s misery ranking is laid at the foot of the economy and the unemployment crisis.     

It is particularly disturbing that the controversial Naira redesign policy of the CBN has not brought down inflation as envisaged, despite what many Nigerians have had to endure in recent weeks. Today, Africa’s largest economy is either leading the world or almost doing so on the negative side of growth and human development indices. Besides, Nigeria has the greatest number of citizens living in extreme poverty.     

Figures available paint a dire situation of millions of adults and youths roaming the streets looking for work but finding none. Indeed, the NBS has reported a consistent pattern of worsening situation of inflation and unemployment in the country. Perhaps more dangerous is the fact that about 60 per cent of that army of idle citizens is peopled by those between the ages of 15 and 35. Many of them, university graduates, are not only miserable but condemned to the street corner.        

The clear and present danger of such a high level of idleness among young persons are already manifest in the high level of strife and crimes in virtually every corner of the country. Whereas the multitude of violent outbursts might have religious and ethnic colorations and undertones, it is also a notorious fact that most of the people in the fields and trenches of war are youths who if otherwise meaningfully engaged would have been unavailable for those worthless anti-social endeavours. Worse still is that there is no evidence to suggest that the authorities in Abuja and the 36 states appreciate the gravity of the situation as there are no clear-cut plans to deal with the problem.     

 We call on government at all levels to begin to find a creative way of tackling this challenge before it becomes unmanageable. The next administration must prioritise youth employment and formulate policies to reduce it to the barest minimum. We also hope that the economic programmes will specifically target young persons. The president-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu has harped on the need for competence, and we hope he will walk his talk.    

Beyond the foregoing, there is the urgent need to realign the nation’s educational curriculum with the needs of the economy. It has been said with some measure of justification that many of the school leavers are unemployable, having regards to their training and skills. Therefore, our educational training curriculum must incorporate skills acquisition and entrepreneurial development so that graduates leave school with the capacity to create wealth rather than seeking jobs. For us to end the misery of our people, we must begin to think along those lines.   


Our educational training curriculum must incorporate skills acquisition and entrepreneurial development so that graduates leave school with the capacity to create wealth rather than seeking jobs

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