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By BASHIR ADEFAKA
The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of spreading an ill-informed amalgam of lies and innuendoes in its response to the latest unemployment figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS)
In a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, BMO said the opposition party was playing to the gallery as usual. “Much has been said about NBS Q4 2020 report which indicated that 33.3% of the country’s workforce of 122,049,400 people are unemployed, but it is clear, from its reaction, that PDP is not prepared to play opposition politics with any modicum of responsibility.
“We dare say that everyone, perhaps with the exception of the former ruling party and its associates, should have expected that no country would escape the aftereffects of the covid-19 induced global lockdown and this is exactly what was reflected in that report.
“It is common knowledge that the lockdown caused several organisations to reduce their workforce while some others reduced their working hours to enable them manage the situation.
“We also wonder whether PDP and its co-travellers bothered to take a look at the situation in the more developed economies of the world, especially the United States whereas at March 2020, there were 10 million outright job losses and the UK where four million jobs were lost within the same period, before jumping into the fray?
“For the avoidance of doubt, NBS figures showed that 1.42m joined the unemployment market in Nigeria in the last quarter of that year, but PDP in its frenzy cooked up an incredible figure of 21.7m.
“We make bold to say that the aftershocks of the covid-19 pandemic would have been more serious in the country but for the proactive steps taken by the Buhari administration, as well as the subsequent efforts which hastened Nigeria’s exit from the covid-induced economic recession”.
BMO added that the NBS unemployment figure for the last quarter of 2020 did not tell the whole story.
“A cursory look at the report showed that there were glimmers of hope which could be tied to calculated steps taken by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government.
“The numbers released by the agency showed that the population of under-employed people went down from 28.6% in the second quarter of 2020 to 22.8% in the period under review.
“It is certainly not by chance that almost 6% of underemployed people moved up from working between 20 and 39 hours a week, to the level of full employment, by NBS standard, of over 40hours a week in a matter of a few months.
“We see it as a reflection of the impact of the N2.3tn Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) which is targeted at boosting the local economy, prevent business collapse as well as create at least five million jobs at small and medium scale levels.
” We also invite Nigerians to note how millions of people have benefitted and are still benefitting from the Central Bank of Nigeria’s covid-19 interventions, including the largely successful N50bn Targeted Credit Facility (TCF) to households and small businesses impacted by the pandemic which has now been reintroduced.
“There is also the N100bn intervention fund in loans to pharmaceutical companies and healthcare practitioners as well as a N1tn facility in loans to boost local manufacturing and production across critical sectors of the economy.
“All these combined to put money in the hands of Nigerians and ensured the country’s quick exit from recession. And like we once said at the height of the pandemic, Nigeria would have been worse off, if PDP had been in power at the centre in this covid-19 era”, the statement added.
The group urged Nigerians to continue to trust in the ability of President Buhari to bequeath a more resilient economy to the country.
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