As the COVID-19 pandemic continues its disruptive spread with far-reaching implications for business efficiency nationwide, an entrepreneurship and small business expert, Dr Timi Olubiyi, has projected that the nation's unemployment rate would increase unless government supports businesses with remedial fiscal incentives to mitigate the impaxct of the viral disease on their operations
Olubiyi, an investment coach and a member of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI) in a research paper said currently, the available data indicated that over 60 percent of the total population of the country are youths with many of them vulnerable and out of gainful employment.
He said: "Opportunities for jobs for these youths are hardly available and with the COVID-19 outbreak, the unemployment rate is expected to increase exponentially and this is likely to escalate the already staggering unemployment data.
"This is a huge concern and a precarious situation for the country and government because the pandemic is already triggering an economic crisis and it would compound the already high unemployment rate in the country" he said.
Olubiyi, who is also a financial literacy specialist and lecturer at Babcock University, said Nigeria currently have deficits in housing, water, sanitation, food, health care, and education, among others and that COVID-19 outbreak will more than likely spike up the level of these shortfalls.
"Consequently, harsh economic condition and the impacts of unemployment which include a surge in the prevalence rate of crimes and criminality are unavoidable.
"More so, lowered tax revenue is likely for government with the following upsurge attendant consequences from the pandemic: increased demand for substandard goods and services, a weak currency regime, high inflation, loss of highly skilled individuals through brain drain, insurgency, militancy, kidnappings, drug abuse, and of course prostitution among others.
"The main consequence of the all the aforementioned is that it affects each and every one of us as a citizen and residents." he said.
Olubiyi said government and stakeholder palliatives, policy reforms, initiatives and social intervention programmes targeted at reducing the effect of COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment and eradicating poverty remained critical at this time.
"In addition, the pandemic requires priority attention and a collaborative mechanism to flatten the curve of the progression of the COVID-19 incidences and also yield measurable results." he said.