2019 In Retrospect: Nigerians Decry Challenges in Health Sector, Electricity Supply, Job Creation and Economy
As 2019 comes to an end, people look forward to celebrating in various ways so as to relax and kick start 2020. In the course of this season, various items are being purchased, travel tickets are booked, parties are organized whilst family and friends gather to celebrate and wish themselves a more prosperous 2020 ahead.
It is also a time of reflection especially on goals achieved and lessons learnt for individuals and the nation as a whole. For instance, it is pertinent to evaluate the performance of the government as it relates to key socio-economic areas, such as security, agriculture, education and electricity, to discuss the challenges of the government in these areas and also deliberate on areas of improvement for all stakeholders. Against this background, NOIPolls conducted this poll to gauge the perceptions of Nigerians on how well the country has fared in 2019 particularly on some key socio-economic areas.
The poll result revealed that Nigerians believe that the country has not fared well in the following areas; the Health sector (79 percent), Electricity supply (66 percent), Job creation (65 percent) and the Economy (64 percent). With regards to healthcare, access to quality and affordable health care remains an issue to Nigerians due to challenges like; inadequate capital spending, poor pay, outdated technologies, poor infrastructure, sharp disparities in the availability of medical facilities across the country, high mortality rates, a weakened primary health care system, incessant strikes by doctors and health workers.
Stakeholders in the health sector have repeatedly decried declining budgetary allocation to the health sector, for instance, capital expenditure of N46 billion has been allocated to the Ministry of Health in the 2020 budget which is lower than the 51.1 billion allocated in the 2019 budget. According to the 2018 World Health Organization Health Access Quality (HAQ) Index, Nigeria is rated 187th out of 195 countries, therefore it is urgent that adequate capital funding is allocated to the sector to boost healthcare delivery in the country.
On electricity supply, 66 percent stated that the sector has not fared well in 2019 and power failure has a very debilitating effect on the economic growth given that electricity supply is fundamental to productivity. Also, adequate and efficient utilization of energy sources to meet the existing demand is essential for high levels of economic growth in Nigeria. Similarly, 65 percent of adult Nigerians reported that Nigeria has not fared well with regards to Job creation.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report, the unemployment rate in Nigeria increased to 23.10 percent in the third quarter of 2018 from 22.70 percent in the second quarter of 2018. Unemployment. An increasing unemployment rate in Nigeria could have adverse effects on both the economy and society. For instance, reduction in the national output of goods and services increased rural-urban migration, high level of poverty, an increase in the number of dependent people and the high rate of crimes in Nigeria.
On the economy, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported that the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew from 2.12 percent in the second quarter of 2019 to 2.29 percent in the third quarter of 2019 indicating an increase of 0.17 percent. Despite this increase in the nation’s GDP, the average Nigerian is yet to feel the impact of this increase in the GDP. According to the Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, Mr Ben Akabueze, for Nigerians to effectively feel the impact of economic growth, the rate of Gross Domestic Product growth must be higher than the population growth.
Respondent’s opinions were assessed on how Nigeria has fared in 2018 in seven specific areas. The poll revealed that 79 percent of Nigerians disclosed that healthcare delivery has not fared well in 2019, while 66 percent lamented over epileptic power supply in 2019. Also, 65 percent of Nigerians complained about lack of job in the country and this could be as a result of the high rate of unemployment and under-employment in the country as well as the thousands of Nigerians who join the labour market on a monthly basis. On the economy, 64 percent of the respondents stated that the nation has not fared well in this area in 2019 despite the marginal increase recorded in the county’s GDP in quarter 3, 2019 as reported by the National Bureau of Statistics.
On the contrary, 68 percent of Nigerians reported that the country has fared well in the area of Agriculture while 58% reported that the country has fared well in the Education sector.
In conclusion, the poll has revealed that a larger proportion of Nigerians consider healthcare, electricity supply, job creation and the economy as the critical areas that have not fared well in 2019 and consider Agriculture, Education and Security as areas where the government has fared well. The synergy between government and concerned stakeholders will go a long way in ensuring that these critical challenges are addressed in 2020. For instance, fixing these sectors pointed out by Nigerians will attract more foreign direct investments, create millions of jobs, help to create new markets, foster competition, spur innovation, lower prices, raise productivity and in turn leads to increase in living standards.
The opinion poll was conducted in the week of December 16th 2019. It involved telephone interviews of a random nationwide sample. 1,000 randomly selected phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geopolitical zones in the country, were interviewed. With a sample of this size, we can say with 95% confidence that the results obtained are statistically precise – within a range of plus or minus 4.65%. NOIPolls Limited is the No1 for country-specific polling services in West Africa. We conduct periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria. More information is available at www.noi-polls.com