Nigerians still dissatisfied, ask for impactful economic programmes

Untitled-1IN spite of the significant economic growth recorded over the last five years, the employment, education and power sectors are still rated poorly by majority of Nigerians with regard to their impact on the quality of life in the country, a survey has revealed.

Titled the Quality of Life Survey, the report, prepared by Phillips Consulting Limited, involved analyses of 10 critical factors that define the quality of life of citizens.

Based on “their relevance to the Nigerian society and importance of economic development,” these were determined as: Education, employment, food, health, housing, portable water, power, sanitation, security and transportation.

The survey was carried out between February and March 2015, to measure economic productivity, and is coming on the heels of heated debate about the deficiencies of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) standing of Nigeria, by accounting for the disconnect between economic growth and standard of living.

The country recently released rebased figures of its economy, a move that shot it way ahead of its continental rival, South Africa, leading economists and political analysts to question the rationale for such economy posture, which has allegedly had little impact on its citizens.

The survey highlighted the numerous determinants of general societal welfare, aiming to establish the relationship between widely reported economic gains and its impact on the lives of the ordinary man on the street, as well as availability of infrastructure for those in the lower rungs of society to climb the social ladder.

According to the survey generally, respondents at various levels are dissatisfied with all 10 factors measured, citing factors such as employment, power, security, housing and transportation as having the highest dissatisfaction rates.

“Commonly cited issues across all factors are inadequate infrastructure, poor maintenance culture, low population coverage ratio, high cost of usage, underinvestment in the sector, and low quality output,” it said.

According to the survey, the factors that have the greatest impact on the overall quality of life in Nigeria was education (21 per cent), followed closely by employment (18 per cent) and power (17 per cent), adding: “In a slight reversal, employment was ranked ahead of education when respondents rated which factor has the greatest impact on the quality of their own lives.”

It said that majority of the respondents (94 per cent) are dissatisfied with the employment situation in Nigeria and cited the absence of an enabling environment to encourage self-employment as the biggest challenge.

Notably, it said, a significant number of employed respondents (64 per cent) selected this factor, suggesting that these individuals are either underemployed (that is, highly skilled workers that are working in low-paying and or low-skilled jobs, or part-time employment), dissatisfied with their current jobs or professions, or are generally unhappy with the high rate of unemployment in the country.

The survey noted that respondents believe the solution to unemployment lies in Public Private Partnerships (PPP) between the government and private sector, stressing that “no single entity can deliver maximum social benefits in this area.

The existence of enabling infrastructure especially with regard to providing business services and information to start-ups is crucial to quality improvement in the sector.” It also stressed that Nigeria must seek to intensify its investment in infrastructure, with investors emerging from both the public and private sectors, to tackle the multifaceted problems confronting the country.

Explaining that education is one of the most important investments a country can make in its people and the future, it said: “The major challenges identified in this sector are inadequate facilities and infrastructure, deficient academic standards and inadequate funding.”

Proposed solutions, according to the survey, focus mainly on quality enhancement of the sector and include: “Adapting the teaching curriculum to societal needs, as well as more effective supervision, monitoring and funding of research programmes.”

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