Discredit Command, Control Economic Policies by Govt Fueled Unemployment in Nigeria, Says Atiku

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*Wants extreme poor families to be paid N5,000 monthly stipend

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar reacted to the ranking of Nigeria as world’s headquarters for extreme poverty, saying that abandoning the people-centred leadership and free trade policies by the present administration was among reasons why unemployment has risen to high level.
Atiku in a press statement issued Sunday pointed out that the economic policies of the Obasanjo years which saw the country maintaining close to single-digit unemployment rate have been abandoned for the implementation of ‘discredit command and control policies’ that have led to massive capital flight from Nigeria.
He said the present government has been involved in sectors that should be left to the private sector, adding that this was among the reasons for increased unemployment.
He referred to the recent decision of the federal government to rehabilitate the Port Harcourt refinery which had over the years failed to be profitable over the years with the sum of $1.5 billion as an example.
Atiku also identifed the worsening insecurity in the country to youth unemplolyment.
He said, “Idleness is the worst feature of unemployment because it channels the energy of our youth away from production, and towards destruction, and that is why Nigeria is now the third most terrorised nation on earth.”
Atiku called for measures such as payment of every family which annual income is below $800 the sum of N5,000 monthly stipends.
Calling on Nigerians to unite to rescue the country from the present situation, he said except this is done, there could be the danger of Nigeria slipping into the failed states index.
He stated, “I have never felt so bad at being proven right, as I am by the report from Bloomberg Business on Saturday, March 27, 2021 that Nigeria is to emerge as the nation with the highest unemployment rate on earth, at just over 33 per cent.
“How did Nigeria get here? We got here by abandoning the people-centred leadership and free trade and deregulatory policies of the Obasanjo years (which saw us maintain an almost single-digit unemployment rate), and implementing discredit command and control policies that have led to massive capital flight from Nigeria.
“Idleness is the worst feature of unemployment because it channels the energy of our youth away from production, and towards destruction, and that is why Nigeria is now the third most terrorised nation on earth.
“My recommendation still stands, and stands even stronger now that we have crossed the Rubicon in youth unemployment. If we can get the 13.5 million out-of-school Nigerian children into school, we will turn the corner in one generation. If we do not do this, then the floodgates of unemployment will be further opened next year, and in the years to come.
“We can no longer say we cannot afford this. We can. As a nation, we are better off privatising our refineries and the NNPC through the time-tested LNG model in which the FG owns 49 per cent equity and the private sector 51 per cent. Recall that in 20 years ending 2020, the NLNG had delivered $18.3 billion dividends to government irrespective of taxes and other benefit accruals to the country. This will not only free the government of needless spending, but also clean up the infrastructure mess in the petroleum downstream sector.”

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