In this report, DAVID ADUGE-ANI writes on the efforts of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) and other agencies in tackling the menace of joblessness.
Unemployment rate in Nigeria is believed to have increased to 18.80 per cent in the third quarter of 2017, from 16.20 per cent in the second quarter. It is also believed that unemployment rate in Nigeria averaged 10.63 per cent from 2006 until 2017, having 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.
Analysts have identified some of the major causes of unemployment in Nigeria to include, bad leadership, outdated academic curriculum, lack of plan by the university authorities, overpopulation, craze for white-collar jobs and rural urban migration among others.
Worried by the worsening state of unemployment in the country, the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) recently expressed concern about the situation, noting that the major cause of the growing insecurity and high crime wave in the country deserved to be tamed. NUPENG states that the army of unemployed youths in the country is a time-bomb waiting to explode stressing that the federal government statistics that only five million Nigerians are unemployed is a fallacy. It puts the actual figure at over 20 million, considering the turn-out of those joining the unemployment market through redundancies, retrenchments and downsizing facing the economy on a daily basis.
Observers have also noted that the current waves of violence and kidnappings in different parts of the country are a result of unemployment.
Experts have also come up with solutions towards solving this problem, such as agric sector reforms, getting professional education, government intervention in micro lending, changing university curriculum and training of entrepreneurs among others.
Last month, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), through the Abuja Enterprise Agency (AEA), in collaboration with Unabashed Foundation, organised a free training programme in photography skills technology, for 110 youths in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). LEADERSHIP gathered that the one-week intensive training programme, which was aimed at reducing unemployment, was attended by youths drawn from the six area councils.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the training programme, acting managing director of AEA, Chudi Ezirigwe, explained that the training was part of the desires of the FCTA to build the capacity of Abuja residents to start and successfully run their businesses. “The whole essence of the free training programme is to develop a skill for young people in the FCT, as directed by the minister, with a view to positioning them to use the skills they have acquired for self employment.”
Ezirigwe added that the programme covered two important aspects that guaranteed successful businesses, namely an entrepreneurial course and a skill acquisition course on photography. “So, they have been trained not only in the area of skill photography, as a career and as a profession, but as entrepreneurs, who are in a position to use the acquired skills to go into the market place and begin to earn a decent living. And in so doing, they will also gain enough experience to begin to mentor others and get people employed under their own platforms.”
He maintained that the programme would create the next generation of business leaders, by empowering people with relevant vocational skills, which would ensure that participants gain technical know-how to operate their businesses and entrepreneurial skills.
Also, the Social Development Secretariat (SDS) of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), in partnership with Dafio V-Sat Tech, has organised a three-day free training programme on satellite installation technology for about 100 youths living in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Declaring the programme opened at the FCT Ultra-modern Youths Support Centre in Nyanya-Abuja, the secretary for SDS, Barrister Amanda Pam, advised youths to learn existing skills to earn a living.
Pam also called on the youths to sensitise other youths to select and learn a skill of their choice to avoid roaming the streets for non-existing jobs, noting that the programme was meant to solve the problem of unemployment in Nigeria. Represented by the director of youth development, Mr. Ereodichukwu Anulunko, the secretary charged the youths to always patronize made in Nigeria products, to boost the economy and encourage Nigerian businesses.
Similarly, the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), under its Environmental Beautification Training Scheme (EBTS), has inducted 50 youths for training in Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The training is part of the federal government programmes to create jobs to unemployed school leavers and dropouts through training and development in the landscaping service chain. Speaking during a one day induction/orientation ceremony in Bwari, the director general of NDE, Dr Nasiru Ladan Muhammed said the youths will be trained in five skills which include plaster of Paris (POP), interlocking Caps, tilling, paint production and landscaping respectively.
The director general who was represented by FCT coordinator, Mrs. Naomi Mutah implored the 50 persons to maximize the opportunity and do their best out of the training so that they can become job creators, self-reliant and entrepreneurs in the long run. “The training will last for three months and you will be posted to well established, experienced trainers who are private landscaping providers, operating in the informal sector,” she said. The assistant director Mr. Christopher Bamsida said the trainers will be paid a token during the course of their training.
Speaking recently on tackling unemployment in the territory, FCT minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello stated that the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) would continue to support UNESCO in its efforts towards skills acquisition and youth empowerment, for the overall development of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Bello promised to work with UNESCO to ensure refresher courses for youths, already trained by the agency, under the joint venture programme.
The minister called on UNESCO to liaise with the AEA, stressing that the agency has an established system to carter for training and re-training of youths in the FCT, adding that the administration was working towards the subsequent marching of the trained youths to be employers of labour. He noted that this gesture would go a long way in curbing unemployment in the FCT as those not marched immediately would be in the AEA database and queued for matching, subsequently.
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