The NLC says the Nigerian government should address the country’s virtually shut industries.
The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has, for the second time since the release of the re-based gross domestic product, GDP, on Sunday by the Federal Government, made a mockery of the exercise.
The Acting President of the Congress, Promise Adewusi, in a statement on Tuesday, said Nigeria, having a robust GDP as a result of the re-basing exercise without sustainable development and jobs, is a ticking time bomb.
At the release of the statistics on Sunday in Abuja, the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, had said that following the re-basing exercise conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, Nigeria has moved up the scale to become the largest economy in Africa and the 26th largest economy in the world.
The Minister said the re-based estimates had put the Nigeria’s nominal GDP in 2013 at about N80.2 trillion (about $509.9 billion), with comparative figures for the previous three years showing N54.21 trillion ($360.6 billion) for 2010; N633 trillion ($408.8 billion) for 2011, and N71.186 trillion ($449.9 billion) for 2012.
“We did not set out to become the biggest economy in Africa. We set out to measure how much the economy has changed. Becoming the largest economy on the continent is a positive development, but that is not the destination,” Ms. Okonjo-Iweala said.
But the NLC said its members are not completely swayed by the latest GDP figures.
The acting NLC President said Nigeria being the biggest economy in Africa ought to make no news if vital national statistics, such as population or natural resources formed the requisite assumptions for the assessment to arrive at the statistics.
An improved GDP, he said, would have made meaning to the NLC if it translated into improved living conditions for ordinary Nigerians.
“Living conditions in the past couple of years have been progressively nose-diving and pathetic,” the NLC said, pointing out that economic growth without jobs and food on the table for Nigerians mean nothing in realty.
“The unemployment figures are frightening,” the NLC said. “We have found it necessary to warn time without number that the army of the unemployed youths constitutes a veritable army of the disparate, the desperate and the angry, and that government should urgently address the problem.
“So far nothing has illustrated this fear better than the recent Immigration recruitment exercise tragedy. We therefore do not need any Economist or Diviner to tell us that life has improved, because it has not.”
The Labour movement said the GDP could not be said to have significantly improved if the country’s industries are virtually shut and operating in an increasingly hostile environment.
Government, the NLC said, should worry more about the performance index of industries dropping from 46.08 per cent to 25.81 per cent, while service industry more than doubled to 50 per cent from 23.03 per cent.
Pointing out that this certainly represents a significant change in the economy; the NLC said it is a negative change that points to consumption to the exclusion of production; and was not healthy.
While commending the government for achieving the feat of economic rebasing, the NLC urged it to ensure that this figure translates into improved living conditions, jobs, revival of industries and improvement of internal and national security, to provide measurable indices and indicators of an enlarging and progressive economy.
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