The vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr Peter Obi, has said Nigeria lost four million jobs in a six-month period, while China created 10 million jobs.
Obi, who said this in his opening speech at the ongoing vice presidential debate in Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, knocked the current administration for failing in counterterrorism, education and job creation.
He said, “On the issue of unemployment, which is worsening, we can see that millions of our children are out of school. You can see from a study that there is a straight link between SMEs and growing your economy, and we’re not supporting our own SMEs very well.
“If you look at what China has been able to do with SMEs, SMEs in China is contributing to 60 per cent of their GDP. And 60 per cent of China’s GDP is 7.2tn (dollars), which is 18 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP.
“China today, using the same SMEs, is guaranteeing 10 million jobs annually. Half of this year alone, China has produced 7.2 million jobs, which is over 40 per cent of their target. Within the same period, Nigeria lost four million jobs.”
According to the former Anambra State governor, Nigeria needs to rejig its policies and have a better focus on how it can create jobs.
He added that as long as Nigeria does not create jobs, with the number of unemployed youths in their productive age, Nigeria might go into crisis.
Obi said, “That is why we have issues of insecurity, instability and all sorts of things we are witnessing today. We now live in a country where we have the highest number of poor people in any nation — 87 million and growing six per cent every minute.
“Our country today has the highest number of school children in the world. Our HDI (human development index) has dropped from 152 to 157. Our global competitive index has dropped from 124 to 127.
“In terrorism, we have moved from seven to number three just behind Iran and Afghanistan. Our inequality has worsened. Our misery index has worsened. Stress index now places us at 148 of 149. These are hinged on two things from studies and that is on education and unemployment.”
According to Obi, with Nigeria unemployment moving from 24 to 40 per cent, the more it can invest in education, the better its economy. He said the statistics showed Nigeria was not investing in education.