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Job Creation Agenda for the next President of Nigeria

If the National Bureau of Statistics figures of over nine million jobs lost in the last three years anything to go by, then the future really looks very bleak and all hands must be on deck to change the narrative quickly.

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N-power scheme is one of the laudable job creation scheme of the Buhari administration

Now that the political game for the next elected president of Nigeria has started in full swing there is need for some of our public influencers to begin in earnest to start setting the agenda for how our teeming unemployed youths can be gainfully employed so as to avert the impending destruction of the next generation of young people in our dear country.

The zeal with which the government was pushing for the impeachment of the senate president should have been channelled into the job creation initiative of the government. I am really tired of the fact that nobody is interested in the gloomy economic statistics starring us all in the face.

According to trading economics data on their website, “Youth unemployment rate in Nigeria increased to 33.10 percent in the third quarter of 2017 from 29.50 percent in the second quarter of 2017.

"Youth unemployment rate in Nigeria averaged 21.73 percent from 2014 until 2017, reaching an all time high of 33.10 percent in the third quarter of 2017 and a record low of 11.70 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014.”

You can compare the figures with Turkey and India where youth unemployment stand 16.90 and 12.90 percent respectively.

If the National Bureau of Statistics figures of over nine million jobs lost in the last three years anything to go by, then the future really looks very bleak and all hands must be on deck to change the narrative quickly.

My extensive research shows the following factors as the major causes of unemployment in the country and I will list them below for your records:

  1. Poor power generation: This is the number one cause of high rate of unemployment in Nigeria. With poor electricity supply and high costs of powering generators, small and medium enterprises in no time fold up their businesses which in turn increase the rate of unemployment.
  2. Standard of education: Every year semi illiterates graduates are released from our higher institutions into our labour markets and due to the poor standard of education, many end up unemployed.
  3. Tribalism and Nepotism: People are being employed in public and private organisations without regards to merit but based on who you know and what part of the country you come from. In the long run the more qualified and productive candidates are not employed.
  4. Lure of political office: Due to unexplained high salaries and benefits of people in political offices, along with kickbacks, many youths resort to preoccupy themselves with the ambition of being politicians and waste their time, energy and resources in the pursuit of a public office, which sometimes does not materialise.
  5. Banking policies: there are no coordinated financial or monetary policies that will help young people access loans at concessionary rates which could have helped them in starting either mechanised farming or large scale manufacturing.
  6. Corruption: High rate of corruption in our national institutions and the cost of doing business in Nigeria is another major cause of unemployment in the country. Funds that should have gone into providing jobs infrastructures are embezzled by public servants leaving little for development.

The solution to the above named challenges does not need any special reinvention of wheels but seriousness on the part of government and policy makers.

A few of my suggestion to the next president includes tackling the problem of epileptic power supply frontally to make sure that power is supplied to manufacturers and small and medium scale companies at affordable rates.

Employers should invest more in retraining our new graduates to improve their productivity and contributions to national development.

A nationwide campaign of mechanised agricultural practices should be launched in 2019 educating young people about prospects in agriculture and encouraging young people to go into agriculture and its attendant job creation opportunities.

While commending the government on some of their job creation initiatives I will suggest that the N-power scheme which is a laudable project embarked upon by the federal government which is steadily providing employment and old programmes such as graduate internship scheme of the last government, which was scrapped, should be brought back.

If such schemes continue and more Nigerians become beneficiaries, then unemployment will definitely be on the decline in the country.

The cover of Issue 28 of The Interview Magazine September 2018.

More Than a Witness - Issue 28

Professor Christianah Adeyeye, Director General of NAFDAC.

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