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Macro-Economic News

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.



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.

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.

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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.


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

Transport fare watch: Motorcycle “Okada” commuters paid less in January 2021

Commuters on motorcycle per drop (Okada) paid less in January 2021 than they did in December 2020.



Transport fare for motorcycle "Okada" more than doubled in 2020, Lagos State bans Gokada, ORide, MaxNG, others from 15 local governments 

The average fare paid by commuters for journey by motorcycle per drop decreased by 11.60% month-on-month and increased by 95.22% year-on-year to N259.33 in January 2021 from N293.36 in December 2020, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report for the month of January 2021.

According to the report, commuters in  Taraba (N400.80), Yobe (N400.15) and Rivers (N400.00) paid the highest journey fare by motorcycle per drop while commuters in Adamawa (N84.22), Katsina (N134.90) and Kebbi (N152.05) paid the lowest journey fare by motorcycle per drop.

READ: Transport Fare: Motorcycle “Okada” commuters paid more in November

Other key highlights

  • The average fare paid by commuters for bus journey intercity decreased by 0.25% month-on-month and increased by 39.55% year-on-year to N2,346.41 in January 2021 from N2,352.19 in December 2020.
  • Commuters in Abuja FCT (N4,482.24), Lagos (N3,300.23) and Sokoto (N3,300.00) paid the highest bus journey fare intercity while commuters in Bayelsa (N1,600.45), Bauchi (N1,640.20) and Enugu (N1,687.45) paid the lowest bus journey fare within city.
  • The average fare paid by commuters for bus journey within the city decreased by 0.66% month-on-month and increased by 74.75% year-on-year to N352.15 in January 2021 from N354.49 in December 2020.
  • Commuters in Zamfara (N600.00), Bauchi (N522.75) and Ekiti (N458.77) paid the highest bus journey fare within city while commuters in Oyo (N189.46), Abia (N205.22) and Borno (N240.79) paid the lowest bus journey fare within city.
  • The average fare paid by air passengers for specified routes single journey increased by 0.02% month-on-month and by 18.27% year-on-year to N36,463.65 in January 2021 from N36,454.59 in December 2020.
  • Passengers in Anambra (N38,600.00), Cross River/Jigawa/Lagos (N38,500.00), Bauchi (N38,400.00) paid the highest airfare while States with lowest airfare were Akwa Ibom (N32,450.00), Sokoto (N33,700.00), and Gombe (N35,000.00).
  • The average fare paid by passengers for water way passenger transport increased by 3.68% month-on-month and by 38.58% year-on-year to N786.19 in January 2021 from N758.27 in December 2020.
  • Passengers in Rivers (N2,280.00), Delta (N2,250.45) and Bayelsa (N2,200.10) paid the highest fare by water while states with lowest fare by waterway passenger transport were Borno (N245.10), Gombe (N290.77) and Kebbi (N340.00).

READ: Transport fare for motorcycle “Okada” more than doubled in 2020

Why this matters

Transportation cost takes a huge portion of budget for most lower/middle-class Nigerians and as well takes not less than 20% of their take-home pay packages.

The drop in fares paid by the commuters on motorcycle per drop (Okada) is a welcome development.

Transport by motorcycle (Okada) has been popularly adopted in most cities by businessmen, government workers, and students to overcome traffic congestion, and for the advantage that it can navigate roads that are inaccessible to automobiles and buses, particularly in villages and urban slums.

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Macro-Economic News

The moment Emefiele predicted Nigeria will be out of recession in Q4 2020

The CBN Governor had expressed optimism last year that the country was going to come out of recession in Q4 of 2020.



parallel market, Covid-19: N3.5 trillion disbursed as stimulus package for the Nigerian economy, CBN Vs NESG: Waving the white flag for the benefit of Nigerians, Exchange Rate Unification: CBN devalues official rate to N380/$1, Nigerian banks have written off N1.9 trillion impaired loans in past 4 years, CBN sandbox operations, Stirling Trust Company Limited, Key highlights of the October 2020 Business Expectations Survey Report, A Total of N3.5 trillion was disbursed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to several other interventions to reflate the economy - CBN, BOFIA 2020: Steps forward or backwards for Nigerian banks, Total credit to the economy rose to N19.54trillion – CBN Governor

It is no longer news that Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, against all expectations exited recession as its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 0.11% in the last quarter of 2020 (year on year).

However, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, had expressed optimism last year that the country was going to come out of recession in the fourth quarter of 2020.

According to the report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), this is the first positive quarterly growth in the last 3 quarters following growth in telecommunications and agriculture which seem to make up for the sharp drop in oil prices and production.

The surprising rebound of the Nigerian economy is coming against the prediction of the country’s Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, who while speaking at the 26th Nigerian Economic Summit, said that Nigeria is expected to exit recession by the first quarter of 2021.

The CBN Governor had during the November 2020 Monetary Policy Committee meeting, predicted that the country was going to come out of recession by the fourth quarter of 2020.

This as he said that many analysts expressed doubts about that and were waiting to prove him wrong.

In a video during a press conference as seen by Nairametrics, Emefiele said, “You said that in November MPC, I was cautiously optimistic that fourth-quarter GDP will be positive thereby taking Nigeria out of a recession that I was aggressively optimistic that during the first quarter, we will exit recession. I am praying very seriously that my prayer should be heard because I know that people are waiting to put my neck on the chopping board to say that I do not know my work.’’

What you should know

  • Despite Nigeria’s surprise exit from recession, experts have still expressed their reservations about the country’s weak economy which is faced with several challenges for businesses ranging from foreign exchange pressure, high unemployment level, increasing consumer prices, serious security challenges, weak investor confidence, etc.
  • This is as the growth in GDP was primarily driven by the Information and Communication sector and the Agricultural sector.
  • However, the surprise rebound of the economy means that Nigeria may recover faster than expected as crude oil prices and production increase this year.
  • This also shows that the country needs to redouble its efforts in the growth of the non-oil sector which contributed 94.13% to Nigeria’s GDP.

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