The issue of unemployment and job creation is one that worries every Nigerian. Every Nigerian agrees that there is an unemployment crisis in the country.
In the words of the Chairman, House Committee on Labour, Hon. Ezenwa Francis Onyewuchi during an oversight visit to the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) in December 2016, “We know we have unemployment crisis in Nigeria and this agency should lead the federal government’s agenda to ensure that Nigerians are employed. When we talk of employment, we are taking about Nigerians becoming self reliant. Getting required skills because we have moved from provision of white collar jobs”
Dr. Nasiru L. Mohammed is taking over at the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), at a period when the performance of the President Mohammadu Buhari in the area of job creation is being greeted with mixed feelings.
Job creation is a cardinal part of the APC-led administration and with another round of campaigns around the corner, the new role of the NDE helmsman is not one to be envied. Interestingly, the NDE is the country’s apex job creation agency.
Without a doubt, the increasing number of unemployed persons and the prevalent poverty in the country is becoming a challenge to the Buhari led administration. And Nigerians expect much more.
National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its unemployment report for the fourth quarter of 2016 disclosed how 3.67million Nigerians became jobless in one year.
The figures show that the number of unemployed Nigerians rose from 7.51 million in the beginning of October 2015 to 11.19 million at the end of September 2016.
The report added that while the number of those employed rose from 55.21 million in the beginning of the fourth quarter to 69.47 million as of the end of September, the labour force population rose from 75.94 million to 80.66 million.
Despite being the apex job creation agency of the federal government, poor budgetary allocation to the NDE over the years has grossly hampered the job creation drive of the Directorate. For instance, only the sum of N902, 800, 000 has been earmarked for enterprise creation in the 2017 budget for the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), the nation’s apex job creation agency. It would be recalled that in the 20116 budget, a total sum of N1.8 billion capital allocation was appropriated to the Directorate, of which only 154 million has so far been released as at December 2016, leaving a balance of about N1.7 billion.
Despite these challenges, under the leadership of the immediately passed acting Director General, Mr Kunle Obanya, the NDE witnessed the launch of the first made in Nigeria toothpick as well as pencil. It also launched the job for all portals, an online portal for registration of unemployed.
Various ICT oriented programmes such as the Smart farmers an ICT based platform capable of creation 490, 000 jobs in the next three years. Smart farmer scheme was designed to encourage young Nigerians to embrace farming were also launched. In all, the agency accumulatively created over 300, 000 jobs in one year.
Coincidentally, few days after Nasiru Mohammed assumed duty as the Director General, National Directorate of Employment (NDE), jobs for all portal designed to rewent down and unemployed youths complained they are unable to log into the site to register.
He is also taking over at a time when the International Labour Organization (ILO) said the global unemployment rate is expected to rise modestly from 5.7 to 5.8 per cent, representing an increase of 3.4 million in the number of jobless people.
According to the ILO’s World Employment and Social Outlook – Trend 2017 (WESO) the number of unemployed persons globally in 2017 is forecast to stand at just over 201 million – with an additional rise of 2.7 million expected in 2018 – as the pace of labour force growth outstrips job creation.
However, in a chat with newsmen after taking over leadership of the agency, Mohammed revealed the discussion he had with President Muhammadu Buhari before he was appointed. He said Buhari directed him to ensure that more Nigerians get job as soon as possible.
“I was posted to this place by the President with a clear mandate to make NDE work”, he said.
“The new NDE we are thinking of is not just an issue of creating jobs, providing employment, creation of wealth; we are thinking far ahead of that.
“What we are planning to do in the future is to export labour.”
“We are looking at the situation whereby no Nigerian will risk his or her life traveling across the desert and Mediterranean sea just because they are trying to get to Europe.
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“They will definitely travel to Europe but they will do it in a more dignified manner.
“Our website will be activated for employers and applicants; we will be involved, get across to their various embassies and get insurance for those being employed. It’s like government to government interaction.”
Mohammed vowed to make the NDE have a direct impact on rural areas, adding that the agency will liase with relevant government agencies in order to have a comprehension of all unemployed Nigerian youths.
“My administration will also reactive and upgrade the organisation’s facilities in all the states in order to improve the organisation’s performance”, the new NDE boss assured.
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