Over 55 Million Youths Live In Abject Poverty – Sen. Gershom Bassey
By: Nick

Nwaneri , Calabar

As the economic situation in the country bits harder coupled with high rate of youth unemployment, the Senator representing Cross River State Southern district,  Senator Gershom Henry Bassey has said from available statistics over 55 million of them lin abject poverty.

This was contained in a  statement from his office and made available to newsmen in Calabar.

He said that “Nigeria’s current economic growth patterns are not providing adequate employment and quality of life, especially for young persons who may lack necessary skills and training”.

Bassey who had earlier in the week raised a motion in the Senate on “The Need to Prioritize Sustainable Youth Oriented Human Capital Development for Long Term Socio-Economic Growth”, said the need for sustainable programmes for youths development and empowerment in Nigeria is now to check current slide.

He sated that, “by fourth quarter of 2020, Nigeria’s unemployment rate increased to 33.3% from 27% in second quarter and Nigeria now ranks 2nd highest on the unemployment global list and this was not acceptable and one in three of Nigeria’s 69.7 million work force are unemployed, consisting of predominantly young persons aged 25-44” hence the time has come for an urgent intervention to get Nigerian youths gainfully empowered or employed.

The Cross River National Assembly Caucus Chairman, noted that “food inflation has accelerated at its highest pace in 15 years, worsening the economic conditions of millions of Nigerian youths, of which more than 55 million now live in extreme poverty”.

The Lawmaker who is most likely to take a shot at the Cross River state governorship seat for 2023, said, “it was sad that in the wake of the one-year anniversary of the #Endsars protests, many of our youths still feel despondent as statistics show that poverty, unemployment and insecurity are on a steady rise”.

He pointed out that countries like China prioritized large-scale investments in physical and human capital during the 1960s and 1970s, focusing on areas such as education, technology and industrial job creation. Today, China has almost eliminated illiteracy among its 1.3 billion population.

But in contrast, he said, “Nigeria’s 2022 budget only proposes 5.4 percent and 3.42 percent for education and healthcare sectors respectively, posing implementation challenges to lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030. Nigeria’s figures are also in contrast with, for example, UNESCO’s recommendation that developing countries should spend up to 25% of their annual budget on education”.

He said, “government needs to consider its youth population as a unique resource and economic force for high-income growth and development. Commit to budget allocations that provide youth-oriented economic interventions, technological adaptability, foster entrepreneurship and job creation in agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

“That more concerted steps to improve the socio­-economic conditions of our Nigerian youths are imperative. Investment in formal and informal education systems, skills and capacity acquisition programmes for emerging industries and the provisions of an enabling environment with adequate infrastructure is a critical. This is an essential foundation for human”

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