African Regional Coordinator of the United Nations Environment Ecosystem Based Adaptation for Food Security Assembly (EBAFOSA), Mr. Richard Munang, has said that the biggest problem Nigeria is facing currently is youth unemployment, and therefore need to create 11 million jobs every year to absolve the unemployed youths
Munang said this at the UNEP-EBAFOSA Nigeria Policy Harmonization meeting for implementing the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) and Climate Action, held in Abuja, Wednesday.
He, however, expressed displeasure at Nigeria's continuing importation of mere goods such as tomato paste to the tune of $360 million every year, which he noted when produced locally would have engaged hundreds of unemployed Nigerians in its production value chain.
He said, " Nigeria is losing N9 billion every year as a result of post harvest loses. Nigeria is importing tomato worth $360 million every year. That means Nigeria is importing unemployment to add on top of unemployment that she got."
Also speaking, the President of EBAFOSA-Nigeria, Mr. James Oyesola, stressed the need for the youths to be engaged more than before, adding that youth unemployment rate in Nigeria was on the increase from 9.8% in 2008 to about 13.41% in 2017.
Referring to the recent Bureau of Statistics report, Mr. Oyesola said that out of 85.08 million people in active labour force in Nigeria; 16 million were unemployed in one third quarter of 2017.
"But the question is: where do these jobs come from? They can come as a result of expanding the entire Agro-value chain, which is the only area you can be able to create job opportunities for the youths."
Oyesola added, "The active labour force is 85.08 million people in Nigeria and about 16 million people were unemployed in one third quarter of 2017 (Bureau of statistics )."
He warned that Nigeria is facing a youth bulge as the average age of the population is 18 years and is expected to overtake the United States to become the third most populous country in the world by 2050.