Nigeria Matters

Nigerian Government Must Tackle Unemployment

Some people have opined that it is not the responsibility of government to provide jobs for the citizens but ideally, the creation of jobs is one of the duties of every responsible government. The Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary describes the unemployed as one without a job although able to work. It therefore means that individuals with specific skills may be jobless when there are no opportunities in the society. Government’s entrepreneurial programmes have hardly reduced the number of young people faced with unemployment in Nigeria.

In as much as Nigerians cannot wait for government to solve all their problems, government must at least carry out its responsibilities by creating jobs for the teeming population of jobless youths. Many Nigerian youths are unemployed due to the unavailability of jobs. This has contributed to an increase in the wave of crime in the society because an idle hand is the devil’s workshop. The Ministry of Labour and Productivity does not seem to be taking measures to help reduce the increasing rate of unemployment in Nigeria. In fact, Nigerian leaders lack proper understanding of the role of government. The textile industry which is the largest employer of labour has folded up. These textile companies numbering about 145 in the 1980’s produced jobs for millions of people. Reportedly, the financial sector has over the years been able to employ only about 300,000 personnel of which 50 per cent are casual workers.

The N70 billion intervention funds for the textile industry which was promised two years ago by the Obasanjo administration will no doubt go a long way in strengthening the sector thereby creating more employment opportunities but government has not shown any seriousness in the revival of this industry despite its capacity to provide jobs.

While institutions in foreign countries are being rescued with a financial bailout from their government using taxpayer’s monies, the Nigerian government has no plan to rescue the different sectors of the society that needs such funds to cushion the effect of the global crisis. Recently, the President of the United States of America, Mr. Barack Obama, announced his administration’s $775 billion stimulus plan to create up to 4 million jobs by the end of 2010. This according to Mr. Obama will be achieved through increased government spending on public works projects. Only God knows when the Nigerian government would reduce unemployment and cushion the effects of the economic blow on this group in the society. Some banks were reported to have started reducing their staff strength due to the global financial crisis. Others are due to close their businesses as a result of this economic crunch. The wiping away of jobs amidst the high rate of unemployment would definitely be disastrous for a Nigerian State that has no economic structures in place.

Barely one month into his emergence as the Executive Governor of Edo State, had Comrade Adams Oshiomhole publicized an advertisement in the newspapers calling for the submission of applications by Edo indigenes for about 10,000 jobs. This initiative was in response to the growing number of unemployed youths in the state. Some months later, it was reported that over 95,000 persons applied for these jobs. We do not need anymore evidences to show how real the problem of unemployment is in Nigeria. The mammoth crowd jostling for positions in different recruitment centres across the country is a testament to this fact.

In the western world, the jobless people receive unemployment benefits because the governments of those countries understand that unemployment and hunger are two prominent catalyst of high rate of crime but the Nigerian governments are less concerned. This is not to say that the countries that compensate the unemployed do not experience crime. There crime rate will no doubt be reduced compared with a country like Nigeria which lack the idea and necessary plan to tackle the rising rate of unemployment.

Before the global economic recession, Nigerians have always been enmeshed in deep financial troubles with over 70 per cent living on less than $1 a day. The Nigeria government has never created policies that will support these people’s effort to provide for themselves and cover all their obligations. The leaders of government have quickly cited the global financial meltdown as an excuse for their ineptitude and passivity. But the expensive government which Nigeria runs has not been affected in anyway by the economic crunch besides the number of cars attached to public office holders have neither reduced or the illegal staff on their pay roll. Hence, government must take necessary measures to help tackle unemployment in Nigeria. The taxpayer’s money should be used to provide safety nets for the unemployed and people living below poverty line.

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