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About 81% of working Nigerians are not in a productive sector – Taiwo Oyedele

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About 81% of working Nigerians are not in a productive sector – Taiwo Oyedele

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In a groundbreaking revelation, Taiwo Oyedele, the Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms, highlighted a critical concern—approximately 81% of the Nigerian workforce operates outside the realms of productivity. Speaking passionately at the Africa Trade and Investment Summit, Oyedele underscored that, despite the seemingly low unemployment rate of 4.2%, a significant portion of the employed populace fails to contribute meaningfully to the nation’s economy.

Drawing a striking parallel with the United Kingdom’s employment figures, Oyedele questioned the paradox of a country with a relatively low unemployment rate and yet harboring over 113 million people in multidimensional poverty. He elucidated, “About 81% of people in employment in Nigeria are engaged in a non-productive sector of the economy. They are doing things that do not add value in the real sense of the world.”

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The urgency to address this issue resonated in his words as he emphasized the need to create decent jobs, highlighting the existence of a working poor demographic. Oyedele challenged the status quo, stating, “Our job is just beginning.”

Navigating the economic challenges faced by Nigeria, Oyedele acknowledged the influence of macroeconomic factors intertwined with political dynamics and the policy environment. He emphasized the pivotal role of the government in steering the country’s economic course, asserting that while global events may be beyond control, a strategic shift in policy direction can effectively manage domestic economic affairs.

Speaking on the mandate of the Presidential Committee, Oyedele outlined three key areas: organization and coordination of monetary, fiscal, and trade policies. These policies, he argued, would not only facilitate an enabling environment for small businesses and manufacturers but also make Nigeria an attractive destination for international investors, fostering a competitive risk-adjusted return scenario.

In the backdrop of these revelations, it’s crucial to note that the National Bureau of Statistics reports Nigeria’s unemployment rate at 4.2%. However, scrutiny over the methodology raises questions, as it includes individuals working only a few hours in low-productivity jobs within the employment pool. Despite criticism, the essence of employed individuals has been redefined to those working for pay or profit for at least one hour in the last seven days, offering a nuanced perspective on the nation’s economic reality.

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