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Women and unemployment in Nigeria: How government and stakeholders can bridge the gap

Gender disparity has a negative effect on women when it comes to employment.

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Over 82 million Nigerians are poor, northern states dominate list

Gender disparity is one of the developmental problems that face every developing country in the 21st century and globally.  It is also a major cause of unemployment in Nigeria.

Although, over the years there have been measures put in place to curb this marginalization, the unemployment rate keeps rising in the face of declining economic growth. This is often exacerbated by increasing population rate that is most times divided along gender lines.

The latest data released on unemployment in Nigeria by the National Bureau of Statistics indicated that women ranked the highest when it comes to unemployment. The report showed that unemployment hit 12.2 million females, as against 9.5 million men. Looking at the result, it is quite alarming how women are being marginalized when it comes to the labour force.

The overall number of persons in labour force was estimated to be 80 million, out of which males are about 41.6 million while females are 38.6 million. Female unemployment has risen to 31.6 percent from 26.6 percent in the third quarter of 2018 while male unemployment also rose to 22.9 percent from 20.3 percent in the same period.

Gender disparity has a negative effect on women when it comes to employment. The role that women play in economic growth cannot be overemphasised, especially in a developing country where women’s contributions in informal sector is undeniable.

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Similarly, the number of female underemployed was highest with 11.9 million while 10.9 million males were reported to be underemployed. Looking at the data, it can be seen that gender inequality holds back growth of individuals, development of countries, albeit to the disadvantage of both men and women.

The discrimination against women remains a common occurrence today and serves to hinder economic prosperity. And half of the population of work force in Nigeria consists of female workers. However, the type of work as well as the condition under which women work and access opportunities for improvements differs from men. Women are often disadvantaged in access to employment opportunities, access to finance, and conditions of work.

Besides, despite significant progress in female labour force participation over the past decades, there exist pervasive and persistent gender differences across different sectors of the economy. Looking at this data; Underemployment rate amongst males in Nigeria stands at 26.3 percent in 2020 compared to 15.4 percent in 2018 while under employment rate for females in Nigeria has risen from 25.9 percent recorded in 2018 to 31 percent in 2020.

With the data above it is obvious that there is labour segregation, inequality due to low investment in human capital such as schooling and training, differential income roles, and comparative biological advantages in entry levels, entry barriers, preferences and prejudices in Nigeria labour sector. Gender equality through the empowerment of women is the primary factor that promotes economic growth. When women are not fully participating in the labour force, a substantial number of the population is not being utilised. There is however a resultant decline in productivity which results in unemployment.

Unemployment and gender inequality are not new phenomenon. There have been policies and programs geared towards tackling these issues because theories and researches have affirmed that the effect slows the rate of growth through decline in productivity.

Here are ways the government & stakeholders can bridge the gap of unemployment in women

1. Public sector reforms should play an important role in promoting gender equality via labour market regulations, social protection programs and public investment in infrastructure that will help reduce women’s care burden.

2. There should be labour force laws to ensure a reduced wage gap, and gender stratification in the labour market.

3. Policies that will help women’s full representation in labour market and parliaments should be encouraged to help reposition women for national development.

4. The government can curb this gap by disbursing money into microfinance banks for lending to market women, petty traders, and artisans to stimulate economic growth, thereby making these women to be self-employed.

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5. To bridge the gap of unemployment among women, government should deem it fit to introduce a way to empower women and also support their skills. Empowerment of women is the primary factor that promotes economic growth.

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Macro-Economic News

Despite billions on agriculture, food inflation up by 108% since 2015

About N2 trillion spent in the last 5 years to achieve food self-sufficiency.

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Despite billions on agriculture, food inflation up by 108% since 2015.

Nigeria’s food inflation has more than doubled since August 2015, exactly 5 years after the Buhari Administration took charge of the Nigerian economy.

This was determined by comparing the composite index for food inflation rate in August 2020 versus same period in 2015. The difference is a whopping 108% increase in inflation rate, in just 5 years. Within this period, Nigeria’s exchange rate has been devalued by 49%.

Whilst the Nigerian economy has been ravaged by a very low oil price environment, since it fell from over $100 per barrel in 2014, most of the reasons for the increase in cost of living are partly attributed to some of the policies of the government.

READ: Presidency gives reason for forex ban on food and fertilizer imports as MAN reacts

Since 2015, the government has focused on a ‘grow-what-you-can-eat’ policy, pouring billions of naira into the agricultural sector. Since its inception in 2015, the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), has received about N190billion disbursement from the CBN.

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Another N622billion was lent through banks under the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme. Add the various grants, tax incentives, and concessions, that’s almost N2 trillion spent in the last 5 years on helping Nigeria to achieve food self-sufficiency.

READ MORE: FPI and FDI drop to $68 million and $18 million respectively in April, lowest since 2016

Whilst modest successes have been recorded, the cost of staple food items remain high – galloping in each passing month. Since the border closure was announced in August 2019, the food inflation rate has risen every month, from 13.17% in August of 2019 to 16% last month. It is projected to hit 20% by the first quarter of 2021, when the effects of the increase in petrol and electricity prices are accounted for.

Despite billions on agriculture, food inflation up by 108% since 2015.

Nigerians have never had it this bad. Despite the good intentions of the government, things have not particularly turned out well. A common challenge in trying to solve a problem is not being able to manage what is outside of your control. In agriculture, a lot seem to be outside of the control of this government.

Explore the Nairametrics Research Website for Economic and Financial Data

Yield per hectare for most farming is well below global standards, driving up the cost of whatever is left to be sold to Nigerians. Farmers also face insecurity, flooding, and sometimes famine affecting their ability to plant and harvest. Even after harvesting, supply chain challenges still persist, leaving farmers to contend with middlemen, transportation, and storage. The result is far less farm produce reaching the final consumer.

For items under its control, it still cannot determine the outcomes, and the causes and effects. Just last week, it announced the banning of maize, only to flip-flop after learning that poultry farmers lacked maize feeds to grow their chickens. It quickly granted licenses to four companies to import maize.

(READ MORE:Nigeria’s inflation rate jumps to 12.82%, highest in 27 months)

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Thus, while the government attempts to manage what it can control such as banning of imports, denying access to forex, and of course border closure, it cannot solve all these problems with CBN funding and banning. They are structural, and require a better approach that is private sector driven, yet pragmatic. The government also needs to tell itself the truth; Nigeria cannot be self-sufficient by banning.

READ: Nigeria’s border closure hurt many Ghanaian exporters – Ghanaian Foreign Minister

So long as we continue to avoid relying on data and objective reasoning, to balance the need for local agro-processing and imports to meet demand, food inflation will remain high and galloping. Who knows, by the time this administration’s tenure is up, we could be looking at a state of emergency driven by a full blown food crisis.

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Macro-Economic News

Nigeria’s inflation rate hits 13.22% in August 2020, highest in 29 months

Highest increases were recorded in prices of Passenger transport by air, Hospital services, Medical services, Pharmaceutical products and others.

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Nigeria's inflation rate, Headline inflation jumps to 11.61% in October on border closure

Nigeria’s inflation rate rose to 13.22% in August 2020, highest recorded in 29 months, since March 2018 (13.24%). This was contained in the recent Consumer Price Index (CPI) report, released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The latest figure is 0.40% points higher than the rate recorded in July 2020 (12.82%). while on a month-on-month basis, the Headline index increased by 1.34% in August 2020.  

READ: CBN orders BDCs to sell forex at N386/$1

Food inflationA closely watched component of the inflation indexstood at 16% in August compared to 15.48% recorded in July 2020. On month-on-month basis, the food sub-index increased by 1.67% in August 2020, up by 0.15% points from 1.52% recorded in July 2020.

This rise in the food index was attributed to increases in prices of Bread and cereals, Potatoes, Yam and other tubers, Meat, Fish, Fruits, Oils and fatsand Vegetables.

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READ: Plentywaka raises $300,000, seeks partners as it launches operations in Abuja

Core inflation: This excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce, also rose to 10.52% in August 2020. It is up by 0.42% points when compared with 10.1% recorded in July 2020. On month-on-month basis, the core sub-index increased by 1.05% in August 2020. This was up by 0.30% points when compared with 0.75% recorded in July 2020. 

READ: Currency traders relatively neutral on U.S dollar, despite impressive U.S Jobs report

What drove inflation: Inflation for the month of August was driven by recorded increase in prices of Passenger transport by air, Hospital services, Medical services, Pharmaceutical products, Maintenance, and Repair of personal transport equipment. 

Others are Vehicle spare parts, Motor cars, Passenger transport by road, Repair of furniture, and Paramedical services.

READ: Nigeria government releases oficial gazette on list of pioneer industries and products

Upshot: As Nigerians continue to grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemicand the reopening of the economy, prices of commodities such as air transport, and medical services seems to have been affected due to policies implemented, with the aim of curbing the spread of COVID-19 in the country. 

It is therefore evident that Nigerians are spending more, despite fixed income, contraction of economic activities, and dwindling rate of investment returns. 

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Macro-Economic News

Demand for credit by household increases in Q2 2020 – CBN

For Q2 2020, households’ demand for all lending types increased.

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CBN to hold MPC meeting next week, Demand for credit by household increases in Q2 2020 - CBN, CBN grants licenses to 3 Payment Service Banks, Mobile money loan CBN Governor, CBN, Three PSBs get Apex Bank’s provisional to commence operations, Milk Import: Experts advise CBN on FX restriction , CBN automates trading system, introduces electronic form to facilitate exports , CBN campaigns for Made-in-Nigeria products 

The request for secured lending of credit by households for House purchase have increased from 0.0 to 3.0 by second quarter of 2020 (Q2). Lenders expect demand for such lending to decrease in Q3 2020.

This was disclosed in the recently published Central Bank of Nigeria’s Credit Conditions Survey Report for Q2. The proportion of secured loan applications approved decreased as lenders tightened the credit scoring criteria.

READ: Banks’ loans to private sector increase by N3.50 trillion in one year – CBN

For Q2 2020, households’ demand for all lending types increased, but in Q3 2020, only prime and other lendings to households were expected to increase while buy to let lending would decrease. Household demand for consumer loans rose in Q2 2020 and it is expected to rise in Q3 2020. However, demand for mortgage/remortgaging from households fell in Q2 2020 and expected to further decline in Q3 2020.

READ: What Nigerian banks consider before granting personal loans

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Demand for Unsecured Credit

Demand for unsecured credit card lending from households increased in Q2 2020 from 4.9 recorded in Q1, 2020 to 7.6 in Q2, 2020, and a further increase is expected in Q3 2020. Similarly, demand for unsecured overdraft/personal loans from households increased in Q2 2020 and is expected to further increase in Q3 2020.

Demand for total unsecured lending from households increased in Q2 2020 and is expected to increase in the Q3 2020. Lenders’ resolve to tighten the credit scoring criterion decreased the proportion of approved unsecured loan applications in Q2 2020.

READ: Ethereum surges pass $345, ETH miners record highest revenue since Q3 2018

Demand for Corporate Credit

Lenders reported increased demand for corporate credit from all firm sizes in Q2 2020 and expect demand to rise further in Q3 2020.

Demand for corporate lending increased for all business sizes in Q2 2020 and would further increase in Q3 2020. The increase in the demand for corporate credit in Q2, 2020 is attributable to increase in inventory finance. Similarly, inventory finance and capital investment were expected to drive demand in Q3 2020.

READ: What is Credit Rating?

To read the full report, click HERE

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