Unemployment in Nigeria

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Towards solving youth unemployment in Nigeria

The federal government recently inaugurated inter-ministerial committee on job fair to address all the identified barriers to job creation and sustainable livelihood in the country, OLUGBENGA SALAMI writes

Tell those graduates to stop combing here and there for jobs. If there are no lucrative offers of employment, they should establish themselves by starting something. Unemployment is a pest that has and still eating deep into the fabric of Nigeria. Let them start something rather than continue waiting for jobs that not readily available. God bless Nigeria. This was the comment of a Nigerian youth, who simply identified himself as Emylexray on the increasing rate of unemployment in the country.

The Statistician-General of the Federation, Dr. Temi Kale had recently revealed that about 20.3 million Nigerians are currently jobless and not employed in any form of job. “Nigeria’s unemployment rate is spiraling upwards, growing at 16% per year. The youth of the nation are the most impacted, with a youth unemployment rate over 50%”.

There is no denying the fact that rising youth unemployment in Nigeria has been a significant contributor to the dramatic rise in social unrest and crime like Boko Haram and communal crises in many parts of the country. It is generally believed that if young people are provided with employment opportunities, they can become productive assets and take their part in mainstream society offering the best of their skills and talents.

It is against this background that the federal government in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, UNIDO recently inaugurated Inter-Ministerial Committee on Job Fair to address all the identified barriers to job creation and sustainable livelihood in the country.

The terms of reference for the committee include producing an action plan for the job fair with cost and timelines and arranging venues, date, time, programme, invitees, training session, targets industries, companies, schools and youths.

The committee is also expected to build and launch a web platform for entrepreneurship and job fair where employers can put online job openings and job seekers can directly register online. It is equally mandated to build a database for the teeming unemployed youths and showcase successful entrepreneurs.

Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Dr. Samuel Ortom, who inaugurated the committee through the Director of Industrial Development, Mr. Olakunle Sogbola in Abuja, the nation’s capital, said the maiden fair was meant “to target widely unemployed youth as other programmes have divergent approach to solving unemployment in the country”.

“It will support industry by creating sustainable working and knowledge sharing platforms and networks which would link the job seekers for local businesses, companies, as well as the needs and options for job seekers. It will also highlight inherent benefits for young individuals who have decided to be entrepreneurs and equally showcase the successful ones with goods and services designed locally and competitive globally and not less than 1, 000 jobs will be created at the first instance from this exercise”, he explained.

That the latest figure on the rate of unemployment in the country is disturbing is an understatement. But the most interesting thing is that the government realized this on time and now taking step towards tackling the danger it could portend for the country if not urgently addressed. According to figures from the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, the unemployment rate has increased to all-time high of 23.9 per cent for the year 2011 while the figure for 2012 rose above 25 per cent.

Ortom corroborated this during the committee inauguration when he said that country’s present “employment stands roughly at 23 per cent with the tendencies to go up as a result of unstable economic situation”. The minister stressed...
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