NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT LOSING THE WAR ON UNEMPLOYMENT




Nigerians are now waking up to the reality of the post lockdown era which was necessitated by the Covid-19 Pandemic. More and more Nigerians now find it difficult to make a living due to the staggering unemployment situation that has been compounded by the pandemic.

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As at the third quarter of 2018, Nigeria’s unemployment figure was conservatively put at around 20.9 million out of a total labour force of 80.66 million according to the office of National Bureau of Statistics with an increase of 6.11 percent before the lockdown.

The government initiative to tackle unemployment and poverty gave rise to the establishment of the National Social Investment Programme in 2016 with programmes like Npower, The Conditional Cash Transfer Programme, and Government Enterprise and Empowerment programme, with billions of naira spent annually as intervention funds.

The gains of this initiative, if any, has been wiped away by the coronavirus pandemic with many businesses shutting down or downsizing to conform to the new economic realities.

While the lockdown loomed, many expressed fear about the uncertainties the nation was plunging into. Questions were asked as regards how long it was going to take to remain indoors, how would people survive when they are unable to earn money to fend for themselves, how will the government ensure that people’s basic need to feed is met without neglecting anyone.

Well, Nigerians have weathered the storm and come out of it alive. However, rather than sit back and get a moment of respite, they are now confronted with a far greater and long lasting challenge as regards their future.

Nigeria is not the only nation grappling with this problem. In the United States of America for example, over 40 million people have so far filed for unemployment benefits. The difference between Nigeria and the US is that while there is a system in place to help respond to the unemployment situation in the US, the Nigerian people are left stranded with nowhere to turn for help, thus breeding frustration and resentment amongst the teeming youth population.

One of the pacifiers to this restless and frustrated demography which is most hit by this problem in Nigeria is sports. In fact, the advent of sports betting in the country has been a blessing in disguise to the Nigeria youths as casinos and sport betting has offered alternative source of employment and means of livelihood to thousands of new entrepreneurs and millions of bettors respectively.

Casino and sport betting is not just a past time for the Nigerian populace anymore, platforms like Casino NetBet and a host of other betting platforms have become indispensable part of everyday life in the country. It is on record that betting companies in Nigeria paid out combined bet winnings running into hundreds of millions of naira in 2019 while creating thousands of job opportunities.

As global sports starts to pick up again, Nigerian youths will once again draw solace in the fact that while government is finding it difficult to live up to its responsibilities in the area of enhancing an environment that will stimulate job creation, the sport betting sector can once again be a source of income generation to keep body and soul together in this difficult times.



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