NIGERIA MY COUNTRY…
The emergence and persistence of massive youth joblessness, declining well being of majority of Nigerians despite significant endowment of human and natural resources raise three fundamental questions which this article attempts to provide some answers.
- First, what do we know and what have we learnt about the emergence and persistence of youth unemployment?
- Second, what are the key challenges that confront effective and efficient solution of the evolving social, economic and security challenge?
- Third, how do we transit effectively and efficiently from the current dismal situation to a more satisfactory environment characterized by an economic future most young people are gainfully employed in decent work?
Looking at the Nature and Character of Youth Unemployment in Nigeria, she is characterized with a population of about 160 million people, which is the most populous African country and among the top six most populous countries globally. With annual population growth rate of 2.8% the country is yet to experience the demographic transition. Arguably, and from the perspective of our subject matter, eliminating youth unemployment is more challenging where there is no demographic transition. Of the labour force of 67.3 million people in 2011 which was about 41% of the total population, 76.1% was gainfully employed. This however, is about 10.5% decline from 2008 figure. • In the past five years, an average 2 million people enter the job market despite the declining rate of job creation in the economy fuelling the massive joblessness in the economy; however, unskilled and semi-skilled workers dominate the structure of the labour market. .
Challenges in Setting the Agenda for Sustainable Youth Employment
The challenges to sustainable youth employment are multi-dimensional. They encompass economic, social, political and cultural issues which include:
- Weak economic, political and social institutions
- Accountability and Transparency in governance
- High cost of governance reducing available resources to support job-creating opportunities for young people at federal and state levels
- Political and bureaucratic corruption
- Jobless economic growth.
- Inadequate economic diversification based on current economic structure
- Weak integration of SME’s with the rest of the industrial sector with focus on raising their productivity level
Path to Sustainable Youth Employment in Nigeria
The following are noteworthy, though not exhaustive in terms of some specific issues in the design and implementation of optimal policy strategies for promoting youth employment.
- Most critical is improving the quality of institutions to support economic growth and especially job creation.
- Establishment and sustenance of good institutions will reduce the high cost of economic and social transactions and enhance the ability of the economy and youth to be job creators than job seekers only.
- More specifically, the radical reform of existing institutional framework for promoting youth unemployment at both state and federal levels is essential for sustainable youth employment.
- The effectiveness of the Industrial Training Fund, National Directorate of Employment, Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture and SMEDAN, to mention a few, in meeting their goals and objectives needs to be evaluated to make more relevant.
- Security has become an important economic and political issue in both the North and Niger Delta regions. Increasing security is a sine qua non for sustainable economic growth and employment creation. The impact of insecurity on the economy of several states in the north is widely acknowledged.
- Systematic reduction in the cost of governance and corruption and the use of the cost savings to support youth employment programmes
- Phased elimination of fuel subsidy and the use of the cost savings to support youth employment programmes
- Risk mitigation measures for job creators to reduce the difficult risk environment for business in the country.
- Design of policy support and incentive plan to encourage and reward young people who are job creators than job seekers.
- Minimize the discrepancy between what is in the budget and what is disbursed in ministries and implementing agencies concerned with the promotion of youth employment.
- Revamp of the educational system to re-establish quality and standards so as to produce more appropriate human capital but also supply more job creators. The introduction of entrepreneurship centres and courses at the tertiary level is commendable.
- Formulate, implement and ultimately institutionalize a national skills programme to impart skills to the active population. This could be based on state or zonal skills centres that will be jointly supported by both state and federal governments. The Technical and Vocational System has not been effective in producing the skills required to support a diversified economy that seeks to be globally competitive. • Enlarge the scope of capacity building in research and development with focus on assisting business development services while recognizing the peculiarities of both the urban and rural economy.
- Support and sustain a robust business climate that is conducive for all economic actors, small, medium, and large scale by improving service delivery with electricity and transportation the most critical. Nigeria is a laggard in this regard globally. Wider dissemination of information on opportunities for job creation for youth using different information.
God Bless Nigeria!!!
God Bless the Youths!!!
ARTICLE COMPILED BY
Comr. Ibuan Barnabas Bemseer (IBB)
University of Agriculture Makurdi
+234 (0)703 338 9630
+234 (0)908 137 9366
Comr. J.A. Oduh (Joefred)
+234 (0)813 963 1377
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