If elected the president of Nigeria, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), has promised to pay significant attention to the informal sector of the economy as she hopes to deal with the issues of unemployment and poverty.
She expresses in a press statement released on Thursday, December 19, 2018, a plan to tackle poverty in the country while also criticizing the present government for focusing on the formal sector.
Her strategy will address the barriers in making a decent income for Nigerians doing business in the informal sector.
"A majority of those operating in the economy are in the informal, low productivity sectors. While previous governments have focused largely on the formal sector in their poverty reduction and ease of doing business schemes, the informal sector, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), is over 60 per cent of the Nigerian economy ($240bn).
"Unable to tackle the factors which lead to informality, such as low level of education, previous governments have chosen either to ignore the problem or militate against it. The informal sector also suffers low productivity due to high business costs which outstrip earnings.
"These barriers on them mean that those that work the hardest in our economies fail to earn a decent living. Investments in the formal sector over the last couple of years, while significant, have not yielded the kind of growth rates achieved by the informal sector, which grew at an annual average rate of about 8.5 per cent between 2015 and 2017, in comparison with the formal economy which grew by 0.8 per cent in 2017."
Under her leadership, there will be a framework to allow access to government support able to improve the capacity of informal businesses.
Ezekweseli recognizes them as the main drivers of the economy. A reason for her interest in resuscitating the sector.
Poverty is a problem that needs to be dealt with and she hopes to do that by providing more employment.
"Right now, people simply do not have jobs. Under President Muhammadu Buhari, according to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS), over 20 million Nigerians are unemployed.
"Again, think about that for a second. Those are not just numbers - they are humans; one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight million humans. They have families. They have people who depend on them.
"We all know someone who has lost a job in this economy. You may even be one of them. We all have families and friends who call us on the phone, pleading for any change we could spare at all to help them survive one more day.
" How long can we continue like this? The right candidate is Ezekwesili," the ACPN's presidential candidate notes in her statement.