Key questions this article answers:

  • As Nigeria’s new president gets sworn in on May 29, he inherits an economy with high inflation and unemployment. Which should the government focus on solving first?

  • How does the impact of prioritising one affect the other? 

On Monday, a new president will be sworn into power; and invariably inherit one of the most challenging jobs ever. Unluckily for him, given the performance of his predecessor, the stakes are higher, given how unpopular the candidate and party are. The bar is so low that at worst, he could perform just as President Buhari, and at best, he could perform better (even if it's just slightly).

But he faces a rather challenging situation, as he has much to contend with, like the inherited ₦69 trillion debt stock. There’s also an exchange rate crisis that has caused so many disruptions and led to the exit of businesses from the country and the discontinuation of key products. Inflation, at 22%, is the highest in over a decade. The labour force doesn't have it any easier. While unemployment is bound to reduce significantly due to the change in the labour methodology, we'll see underemployment take centre stage, exposing Nigeria's employment crisis.

So, the president has a lot of work cut out for him. And his first assignment is deciding what the first assignment should be. Which of these crises should he prioritise first and why?

Employment and inflation are the two most pressing issues affecting Nigerians and their businesses. This still presents the Nigerian government with a tough decision: should they prioritise fixing inflation or underemployment?

Inflation has been a persistent problem for Nigeria. Inflation has been on the rise for several years, with the most recent data from the NBS showing an inflation rate of 22% in April 2023.