ILO’s 2024 Report Raises Concern for Growing Social Inequalities

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Latest report from the stables of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) indicates that Labour markets have shown surprising resilience despite deteriorating economic conditions. However recovery from the effects of the pandemic remains uneven as new vulnerabilities and multiple crises are gradually crumbling prospects for greater social justice.

The ILO’s World Employment and Social Outlook Trends: 2024 (WESO Trends) reveals that both the unemployment rate and the jobs gap rate, i.e the number of people without employment, and are interested in finding a job, have fallen below pre-pandemic levels. The 2023 global unemployment rate was at 5.1 percent; a modest improvement from 2022 when it was 5.3 percent. Both the global jobs gap and labour market participation rates also improved in 2023.

Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde, Director-General of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), in a swift response to the report, said the current reality from the report, which reflects the global economy, may unsettle the sustainability of enterprises in the nation’s economy if the Federal Government did not take charge of the situation immediately; especially as many organisations are divesting due to unfavourable operating environments.

He said: “We are worried that the nation’s workforce challenges pose a threat to both individual livelihoods and businesses, and it is essential that the Federal Government tackle them effectively and fast. This is because the falling living standards and weak productivity combined with persistent inflation create the conditions for greater inequality, and undermine efforts to achieve sustainable economic recovery.”

According to Oyerinde, companies and organisations leaving the country might worsen the unemployment situation. It might also worsen the challenges of insecurity, and put more pressure on households; therefore the Federal Government needs to act urgently so that the negative consequences will not be too much for Nigeria.

He said the Federal Government can achieve this by basically providing more support for organised businesses and making the business environment more hospitable for both local and foreign investors. “Once you get the businesses sustainable and focus on skills development; as more people get the requisite knowledge, they become employers of labour.”

The ILO report noted that despite quickly declining after the pandemic, the number of workers living in abject poverty, earning less than $2.15 per person per day in purchasing power parity terms, grew to about 1 million in 2023, while the number of workers living in moderate poverty, earning less than $3.65 per day per person in PPP terms, increased by 8.4 million in 2023.

Presenting the report, Gilbert Houngbo, Director General of ILO explained that growing inequalities and stagnant productivity are causes for concern. Noting that this should be a cause of concern to nations, Gilbert said not only because it threatens economic well-being, but also because it threatens decent work which is an essential component of greater social justice “and we need greater social justice if we are to build a future that is sustainable, equitable, and peaceful,” he said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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