With the alarming rate of unemployment in Nigeria, experts have said there is a need for people, especially, youths to embrace entrepreneurship and develop skills needed to become employers of labour. ZAKA ABD-KHALIQ writes.
Unemployment rate in Nigeria has grown sporadically over the years. According to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS), unemployment rate in Nigeria increased to 18.80 per cent in the third quarter of 2017 from 16.20 per cent in the second quarter of 2017, thereby, averaging 10.63 per cent from 2006 to 2017.
It however, reached an all-time high of 19.70 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2009 and a record low of 5.10 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2010.
In all these, it shows that about 40 million Nigerians are currently unemployed from a population of 160 million.
This, according to experts, is a time bomb that will soon explode if urgent steps are not taken to address it, calling for increased entrepreneurial skills, especially, among youths to address this scourge.
Statistician-General and Chief Executive Officer of NBS, Mr. Yemi Kale, said Nigeria must create four million new jobs annually to begin to make any dent in the ballooning unemployment figures. This, he said, is exclusive of any loss of already existing jobs.
And if new jobs must be created like he said, then, the country needs more employers of labour to absorbs people in the unemployment market.
Over-Bloating Unemployment Rate, A Time-Bomb!
Speaking on this development, a member of the National Executive Council(NEC), of Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC) Mr. Issa Aremu, said: “If we have such army of underemployed, the crisis of unemployment has assumed tragic proportions in forms of various mass crimes as restless youths swell the ranks of kidnappers and insurgent.”
All tiers of government, he added, must rise to promote development through re-Industrialisation, uninterrupted electricity supply and war against which make the products of local industries uncompetitive.
“There is an urgent need for a bipartisan employment drive in the country. Sustainable jobs can only come from industry and massive public infrastructural development such as railways, roads construction, reinvention of public schools and hospitals. All the issues in unemployment crisis are governance issues which task the responsibilities and sensitivities of the Federal as well as State Governments of the Federation,” he pointed out.
Entrepreneurship, Antidote To Unemployment
Finance Expert, Mr. Peter Osalor , said Nigeria has the largest domestic market in Africa, a wide range of natural resources, and a diversely skilled labour pool. To this end, he said, the country must constantly create new jobs, and diversify the industrial and commercial sector to take advantage of human and natural resources. The entrepreneurial activities have been found to be capable of making impact on the economy of a nation and quality of life of the people through economic growth; employment generation and empowerment of the disadvantaged segment of the population, which include women and the poor, he stressed,. Entrepreneurial development, he stated, will encourage entrepreneurs to create new enterprises, new commercial activities, and new economic sectors, as they will generate jobs for others; produce goods and services for society; introduce new technologies and improve or lower cost out puts; and earn foreign exchange through export expansion or the substitution of imports.
Philanthropist and Nollywood actor, Williams Uchemba has said, Skill acquisition and entrepreneurship is the way to go in a country where getting a job is like rocket science. To him,
To him, “There are 23.4million Unemployed Youth In Nigeria, and out of the 500,000 young people that graduates from the University every year in Nigeria less than 10% of that number eventually get a job. One of the major ways to deal with the unemployment rate in Nigeria is not only by Job creation, it also needs Entrepreneurship through Human capital Development. The degree certificate is not enough these days, thus graduate needs new skills set to survive.”
The President, Business Club Ikeja (BCI), Mr. Leke Odude, has urged the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO) to partner the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) on entrepreneurship.
Odude, added that the move, when made would sensitise and mobilise Nigerian young graduates right from the NYSC Camp on skill acquisition annually, and further curb crime rate as it would make graduates to become self-reliant upon passing out from youth service.
The Managing Director, Poise Graduate Finishing Academy, Asher Adeniyi called for the adoption of vocational and technical skills in tertiary institutions to prepare young graduates for employment, while bridging the gap between the knowledge acquired from the academic institutions and the demands of the workplace.
“It is very important universities adopt these training for their graduating students, the students are not ready for the job, they need some set of skills that will make them employable and it is important we prepare these young executives for life after school,” he said.
In the same vein, the Managing Director, Human Resource, Chellarams Plc, Fred Nduka lamented lack of employable skills in graduating students, saying the skills are the determining factors of whether they succeed or fail in and outside the workplace.
He said embracing vocational and technical skills is one way of dealing with the unemployment issue in the country, stressing that the education system curriculum does not encourage skill acquisition, training and development, which would make graduates employable after their tertiary education.
The co-founder and Vice President of Fate Foundation, Austin Okere, said: “I believe that it is through entrepreneurship that we can accelerate job creation and national development. There is no better time than now to seriously consider and undertake your own entrepreneurial journeys. The immense support systems available today cannot be overemphasised.”
The Chief Executive Officer, Tony Elumelu Foundation, Mr Tony Elumelu, said, only entrepreneurship can transform African continent from its current economic challenges.
Elumelu, who stated this at the 2018 TEF Entrepreneurship Forum in Lagos said: “From our thriving markets to the new generation of African multinationals, Africa is showing that economic and social transformation is within our grasp and is being driven by Africans.”
African political leaders, he said, are beginning to understand that by unleashing entrepreneurs, creating enabling environments and ensuring that business does well and actively contributes to wellbeing, the continent’s future will be transformed.
According to him, the foundation is a product of his conviction that the private sector holds the key to unlocking the transformation and economic development of the continent, as captured in the thinking of Africapitalism.
The Way Forward
According to the Registrar, Institute of Credit Administration of Nigeria(ICA), Professor Chris Onalo, an entrepreneurship is the foundation of any developed nation and that Nigeria to reap the full benefits of a dynamic and evolving economy, however require the overcoming of entrenched social, financial and political hurdles. The government, he said, must increasingly work to improve the ease of doing business by developing and implementing more pro-market policies and making the entire business environment more attractive to investors. Also, improvements and reforms in education and international participation are crucial for Nigeria to shake off its third world heritage and achieve the full breadth of its economic potential, he pointed out.