The online registration of all the unemployed persons in the country is a process that is ongoing. The federal government needs the figures to enable it in its plans to solve, on a permanent basis, the problem of unemployment among our youths who are the direct victims of the social malaise. This is important because in every economic planning, statistics are important input expected to guide the planners to know how many people the government is providing for and also give it an accurate information on actual resources it needs to deploy towards achieving set goals. It is important not just for purpose of job creation but also in the provision of other social amenities, health, education and other infrastructure that the people need to function effectively and efficiently in their contributions to nation building.
This is one of the main reasons every government carries out, periodically, the process of knowing the number of its citizens through a census exercise. In most countries, this is taken very seriously and it is often devoid of any political manipulation because the issues involved determine the growth and development of the economy and the country as a whole. In some cases, the exercise makes allowance for visitors, resident and non-resident.
It is from this perspective that we commend the federal government for creating this platform that will, hopefully, put in context, the much talked about unemployment situation in the country so as to begin to address it in a manner that is realistic and realisable. Even as we applaud this exercise, we have our fears which are founded on the futility of past exercises of this nature. It is a fact that the government does not have an accurate data on the population of the country and that is because each time an effort is made to establish this all important information, it is hijacked and even sabotaged by those who have other ideas about the rationale behind it. Most see it not just in terms of economic planning and resource allocation but also in terms of who gets what and in what quantum. This often leads to a falsification of the records that ends up blurring the actual reason for embarking on it.
The sincerity of government in trying to have that information is not in doubt. What is the problem is that the process is manipulated by devious minds with the government lacking the will to call those involved to order. This is where political, religious, ethnic and nepotistic considerations come in.
We are, indeed, worried that this exercise is not likely to provide a reliable pedestal upon which the government can meaningfully intervene in the serious matter of lifting the shameful unemployment burden off the country. In a country where employment opportunities as soon as they become available, are shared out to office holders and other supposed notable personalities makes a thorough nonsense of this data gathering. A situation where one’s membership of a political party is a more relevant consideration for securing a job makes this exercise look like a waste of everybody’s time and resources. When a letter of recommendation from whoever is viewed as more important than the academic qualification of a job seeker, renders this exercise a nullity ab initio. When the religious and ethnic affiliations of the job seeker overtakes his or her intellectual content makes one want to weep for our country. This explains why job seekers while hunting for vacancies also take time out to cultivate a godfather or godmother whose voice will be the sole determinant when eventually a place is identified.
Is this exercise still needed when job seekers are required to pay huge sums to be employed even in government agencies?
We are trying to paint a picture of what a job seeker is up against that makes him or her think that if they have to rely on this registration to get employed they may have to wait for eternity. Unemployment, simply defined, means that there are not enough jobs to go round. Registering the unemployed is a good idea. But the more important thing to do is to make job opportunities available on demand. In this regard, the government must, as a matter of policy, incentivise the private sector by radically providing the right environment for them to thrive. Do this and there will be no need for the ritual of registering whoever.