• Sunday, June 23, 2024
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How unemployed Nigerians are coping with rising cost of living

How unemployed Nigerians are coping with rising cost of living

Unemployed youths in Africa’s largest economy are relying on handouts, bets, and their savings to survive in the amplifying cost of living crisis in the country.

Adebisi Leroy, a 23-year-old data analyst and consultant has been unemployed for four months and has been living on his savings.

“I’ve been unemployed for four months and so far, I’ve been living on my savings, and I’m down with just N50,000. If I don’t get a job this month I’ll be left to depend on family and friends,” he said.

Jobberman’s 2022 report titled ‘How do Young People Survive without Jobs ‘mentioned that unemployed youth in Nigeria’s survival strategies include betting, borrowing, family and friends, giveaways on social media, government security nets, hustling, and stipends from parents.

Kunle Olakintan, a 27-year-old graduate of agriculture who has been unemployed for four years says he has been living on family and friends, menial jobs, and internet dash out.

“I’ve been unemployed for four years and I’ve given up on searching for jobs, I bet occasionally and get some money that sustains me for a while, sometimes I participate in giveaways, and on really bad days I rely on handouts from friends,” he said.

Read also: Inflation pressure heightens Nigerians cost of living

Olakintan said this year has been a really difficult year to be unemployed as the cost of living keeps rising.

“This year has been so tough being jobless, the cost of food is very high, and even transportation to interviews takes a huge portion of whatever money I have. I’m glad my friend’s family took me in, if not my situation will be worse,” he said.

Recent data by NBS shows that Nigeria’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.1 percent in Q1 2023 from 5.3 percent in Q4 2022 making it lower than that of China, the UK, Germany, and France.

This is a fall from the 2020 unemployment figure of 33.3 percent. The statistical agency explained that the new calculation model aligns with the rates in other developing countries where work, even if only for a few hours and in low-productivity jobs, is essential to make ends meet, particularly in the absence of any social protection for the unemployed.

It said unemployment was highest for young Nigerians compared to other age groups and higher in urban areas compared to rural areas.

It was also higher among those with higher educational attainment, and highest for those with post-secondary education.

“Those with higher levels of education are more likely to seek formal, wage-employment jobs, which could require longer periods of search,” the NBS said.

Read also: Fixed-income earners most hit as cost of living worsens

Precious Chukuma A 25-year-old former administrative officer “I was retrenched last month from my job due to the situation of the economy. We were given two months’ salary and that’s what I’m currently surviving on.”

She said she’s been searching for another job but hasn’t been lucky with getting one.

“ I’ve been looking for other jobs but I’ve not found anything that pays well, everyone is trying to underpay, I’m beginning to fidget because the money I have can’t sustain me for so long,” precious Chukuma.

Chukuma said, “ My other option is to japa, to go and further my education but even that is expensive as my immediate brother recently travelled.”

A recent World Bank report noted that the worsening poverty in Africa’s biggest economy was making more people quit school for menial jobs.

“Youth responded to both the 2016 oil recession and COVID-19 crises by leaving school earlier to enter the labor market, thus increasing overall labor supply. Rising labor supply amid chronic job shortages have further widened precarity and informality in Nigeria’s labor market,” it said.

The economic uncertainties are making many jobless Nigerians seek opportunities to travel abroad, fuelling a massive brain drain that is hurting the labour quality of Africa’s most populous economy.

Read also: Inflation: Nine areas worsening cost of living crisis

The phrase “Adulthood na scam” has evolved into a widely recognized local expression that succinctly captures the escalating burdens associated with the progression of age. For many, it symbolizes the overwhelming responsibilities that often accompany adulthood.

The Jobberman report said that although hustle is the number one means of survival for many unemployed, about 78 percent still depend on others to survive, with 43 percent receiving food and internet support from family and friends and 34.7 percent relying on parents for stipends.

“There is a borrowing trend among unemployed young people, with at least 1 in 5 engaged in spontaneous and sporadic borrowing from micro-lenders, family, friends, and acquaintances.

“It is fast becoming the norm to find unemployed youth taking up loans – as little as N5,000 or above – from micro money lenders known to utilize strict and demeaning refund policies,” the report said.

With support systems plunging into steeper levels of vulnerability, especially in more troubled regions of the country, young people may have to utilize the most dreadful but available means of survival.