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Nigeria’s Unemployment Rate Rising Dramatically: IMF

The International Monetary Fund has noted the rising rate of unemployment, after an analysis of the economic and financial developments in Nigeria.

This observation was made after virtual meetings held between the IMF team and Nigerian authorities in the first week of June. The IMF team was led by Jesmin Rahman, who made the observations in a statement released by the Fund.

The statement said “The Nigerian economy has started to gradually recover from the negative effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Following sharp output contractions in the second and third quarters, GDP growth turned positive in Q4 2020 and growth reached 0.5 per cent (year on year) in Q1 2021, supported by agriculture and services sectors.

“Nevertheless, the employment level continues to fall dramatically and, together with other socioeconomic indicators, is far below pre-pandemic levels.”

Ms Rahman noted the slight decrease in the inflation rates, which dropped in May but remained elevated at 17.9 per cent, as a result of hikes in food prices. The statement also noted the recovery in oil prices and remittance flows, as well as a shortage in the foreign exchange market keeping foreign investment opportunities subdued.

However, the Fund expects Nigeria’s GDP to grow to reach 2.5 per cent this year as well as an increase in inflation rates, projecting that it would slow down in the second half of the year to reach about 15.5 per cent, as a result of removal of border controls and the elimination of base effects from elevated food price levels.

Nigeria’s unemployment rate hit a record of 33.3 per cent in the last quarter of 2020, according to a report by the National Bureau of Statistics released in March, the estimated number of persons within the working-age population, during the period under review was 122,049,400 Nigerians.

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