THE need for gainful employment of citizens in any society cannot be over emphasised, as it provides the key to a chain of other stabilising socio economic as well as political activities in any given society.
MANY a country or society with employment problems have had their social, political and economic structures dislocated as the scourge of unemployment has a spiraling effect on all other sectors of the economy. This among other reasons explains why countries of the world, make frantic efforts to ensure that unemployment as a problem, is tackled headlong so as to keep it in check
DIFFERENT countries of the world, adopt various means of checking the scourge especially youth unemployment. The advanced democracies for example, have some cushioning measures like welfare scheme in which the unemployed are given some stipends to keep body and soul together before they are finally fixed up with jobs.
COUPLED with this scheme, are also Employment Agencies which serve dual purposes of acting as data bank and middle men” for the employers as well as jobs seekers; providing useful information for employers of labour as to the availability of qualified applicants who register with them, with details of their curriculum vitae, and to the applicants, who are well fed with vital Information of available jobs with details about such job specification, qualification required, remuneration and all other such information as may be required.
HERE in Nigeria, spirited efforts have been made over the years to also address the issue of unemployment, especially among youths who have created social, economic and political problems for governments at all levels,
IT will be recalled that as a way of redirecting the attention of unemployed Nigerian youths, the then military government of Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo floated a youth employment scheme which it tagged. ‘Operation Feed the Nation’ (OFN), the aim of which was to have our youths go back to the land and farm, for the benefit of all.
CURIOUSLY, the scheme was to serve the dual purpose of directing the energies of the teeming unemployed youths into productive venture and also to reduce the army of the unemployed even as Nigerians were to have abundant food to eat. REALISIING the unending scourge of unemployment, the then Alhaji Shehu Shagari’s administration also made effort to contain it by floating the ‘Green Revolution” programme to achieve a zero unemployment status. AFTER these, the then IBB administration created a body called the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) to try and collate and coordinate the task of registering and giving employment to the unemployed. The OBJ’s second coming, saw the creation of the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) aimed at tackling unemployment. IT is imperative to note at this point that all these strategies have not been effective due mainly to policy summersaults and inconsistencies on the part of every succeeding government.
TO this end, The NIGERIAN OBSERVER applauds the moves by the Federal Government in effectively tackling unemployment problems in Nigeria, by liaising with relevant stakeholders in terms of job creation. COMRADE Governor Adams Oshiomhole unequivocally expressed his concern about the threat to social and economic peace by the scourge of unemployment, noting that “the only way to measure the economic progress of any nation is by the number of Jobs created.” He then promised to do everything within his powers to collaborate with the federal government in the area of job creation.
WORTHY of note is the Edo State continuous creation of jobs for the unemployed youths in the state. Already, this has taken shape with the employment of many graduates under the Youth Employment Scheme (YES). Against this background, The NIGERIAN OBSERVER admonishes that the proliferation of institutions saddled with the responsibilities of creating jobs like the National Directorate of (NDE) and the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) and other employment agencies be made more functional or if possible, merged into one for proper handling of employment administration in the country.
TO effectively tackle the menace of unemployment in the country there is the need to conduct a survey on job creation in Nigeria. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) needs to create a data base on the true state of unemployment in terms of both the skilled and unskilled.
BESIDES, we need to constantly improve on available information and data on the Nation’s labour market through appropriate statistical methodology for tracking variability in the number of jobs created or lost every quarter. This is where the readiness of NBS to conduct such a survey is heart -warming.
SINCE accurate, timely and reliable data are major pre-requisites for strategic planning and development, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and National Planning Commission (NPC) should collaborate to boost job creation in the country.
ALSO worth mentioning is the federal government’s resolve to develop people without skills to make them employable, through the establishment of Skills Acquisition Centres nation-wide. This is in tandem with Edo State’s maintenance of its already established Skills Acquisition Centres wherein the unemployed and other victims of human trafficking have been getting rehabilitation over the years.
BY and large, it must be observed that the only way to solve the problem of poverty is to invest in skills acquisition through human capital development so as to make job seekers become employers of labour.