The Vice Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi, has said that Nigeria will be faced with a crisis if the nation does not create jobs.
Obi made this known while addressing issues on economic policies at the NEDG, BON Vice-Presidential debate on Friday.
He said that addressing economic issues should be given great priority, stressing that revamping the economy cannot be relegated at the expense of the fight against corruption.
“Fighting corruption is not an economic policy, it is not that you can’t fight corruption, but you can fight it more aggressively while addressing economic issues”.
The former governor of Anambra state who was of the opinion that the greatest of governments operate as a business, lamented over the increasing rate of unemployment in the country and economic losses incurred by Nigeria.
He said, “In 2015 unemployment rate was 24 percent but today it is 40.
“In 2015, we were attracting 21billion dollars in foreign direct investment; we attracted only 12 last year.
“Our GDP was five hundred and twenty in 2015 and per-capital was two thousand five hundred, today it is under 1900.
“Our stock market has lost over two trillion in one year”.
Adding, “We now live in a country where we have the highest number of poor people in any nation 87 million and growing six percent every minute.
“Our country today has the highest number of out of school children in the world
“In terrorism, we have moved from number 7 to number 3 just behind Iran and Afghanistan
“Our inequality has worsened, our misery index has worsened, our stress index we are now 148 over 149.
“If you look at all these, it hinges on two things from studies, and that is education and unemployment”.
Obi stressed the need for more investment in education and the creation of jobs asserting that “as long as we don’t create jobs and have the number of unemployed youths that we have today, we are going to have a crisis.”
The PDP’s Vice-Presidential candidate warned that the present government cannot continue prioritizing the fight against corruption over improving the growth of the economy.
He said, “You can’t close down your shop and be chasing criminals”.
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In response, however, Prof Yemi Osinbajo said, “If you allow the criminals to steal all the inventory in the shop, there will be no shop”.
Buttressing his points further, Osinbajo blamed the nation’s slow economic growth on the level of corruption which he says was witnessed under the 16-year rule of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
According to him, no nation can thrive with what he described as the “grand corruption” that the nation witnessed at the time.
He, however, praised the Muhammadu Buhari administration for what he described as its efforts in reviving the economy in the last three years.