Monthly Archives: January 2011
At the recent Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) policy dialogue on the Nigerian economy, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance quoted data from the National Bureau of Statistics(NBS) saying that “unemployment in Nigeria is running at around 19.7 percent on average, and almost half of 15-24 year olds living in urban areas are jobless”. The theme of the policy dialogue was “Attaining sustainable economic growth through public-private partnership”,
The Minister of Finance, Mr Olusegun Aganga, also added that “almost half of 15-24 year olds living in urban areas are jobless” and said that reducing unemployment and enhancing economic productivity are top priorities for the National Economic Management team.
The minister continued by saying, “49% of the unemployed reside in the urban region and 39.7% unemployed are in the rural region. Some states are more affected than other states and what this means is that there is a massive disconnect between the economic growth achieved in the country in the last five years making this an economic issue which could grow to become a social issue.
“In creating jobs, the quality and quantity of the jobs to created are as well very important.”
Recent statistics released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that about 10 million Nigerians were unemployed in Nigeria at March, 2009.
The National Bureau of Statistics defines the unemployment rate as the percentage of Nigeria’s labour force that is qualified to work but did not work for at least 39 hours in the week preceding the survey. The total labour force is made up of people aged between 15 to 64 years and excludes students, home-keepers, retired persons, stay-at-home parents, and persons unable to work or not interested in work.
The report showed that Bayelsa State had the highest unemployment rate, followed by Katsina State and Akwa Ibom state. Plateau State had the lowest unemployment rate and was followed by Ogun State and Benue state.
About 60,000 applicants turned up for the National Drug and Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) aptitude test in Lagos which held in the main bowl of the National Stadium on 13th and 14th Novermber 2010. Most of the large number of applicants that turned up for the test, which was held simultaneously in every state of the federation and the federal capital territory, expressed dismay at the high unemployment rates in the country. “The best thing is to leave this country, I am now convinced,” said Godson Anthony, one of the candidates. “My friends have been telling me all these years but I refused.” He also expressed dismay at the conditions under which he wrote the test. Candidates who came early were lucky to get seats under the covered VIP section of the stadium, while the rest had to sit in the blistering sun.
The test, which was scheduled to start by 10am, did not start until about 12.30 noon. “This is hell, how can someone write an exam under this scorching sun,” blurted an applicant. John Egiro, a graduate of the English Language from the Olabisi Onabanjo University, while commending the NDLEA for the flawless conduct of the test itself, noted that the main bowl of the National Stadium was not an ideal venue for such a test.
Kolawole Daniel, a graduate of Banking and Finance from Kogi State University, also complained that the candidates were compelled to place their scripts on their laps as there were no tables. “I placed the paper on my laps to enable me to shade the answer columns,” he said.
Kelechi Nnoruka, the Acting Commandant for NDLEA, Lagos State, blamed the participants for the delay. “Though I will not say we started late because we still finished within the expected time frame but any delay observed is due to the fact that many of the applicants found it difficult settling down,” she said. “We were here before everybody. They are well behaved, probably because they are all graduates and they know the kind of agency they are coming into.”
What manner of test?
Although, the applicants were forewarned about any malpractice, it was all too evident that the venue of the test, where applicants have to use their laps as writing desk, encouraged collaboration. Long after the test was declared over, some applicants were still writing theirs along the pavement that led into the stadium. “This is no exam at all,” said an applicant, who gave his name as Ayeni. “How do they expect to curb malpractices under this condition? Even the so called invigilators are already tired before the exam started.”
Many of the candidates also expressed apprehension whether the NDLEA will apply merit in its selection process. “There are some issues I cannot comment on and this is one of them,” said Mrs Nnoruka. “Such question can only be answered by the management.” She also refused to state how many applicants the agency hopes to employ. However, a source in the agency, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the NDLEA plans to employ 2000 in each state. An estimated 60,000 candidates wrote the two-day tests in Lagos alone. Candidates also paid N1,500 as application fee.
Unemployment in Nigeria is one of the most critical problems the country is facing. The years of corruption, civil war, military rule, and mismanagement have hindered economic growth of the country. Nigeria is endowed with diverse and infinite resources, both human and material. However, years of negligence and adverse policies have led to the under-utilization of these resources. These resources have not been effectively utilized in order to yield maximum economic benefits. This is one of the primary causes of unemployment and poverty in Nigeria.
As per the report of the World Bank, the GDP at purchasing power parity of Nigeria was $170.7 billion during 2005. Unemployment in Nigeria is a major problem both economically and socially. Unemployment in Nigeria has resulted in more and more people who do not have purchasing power. Less consumption has led to lower production and economic growth has been hampered. Unemployment also has social consequences as it increases the rate of crime. The secondary-school graduates consist of the principal fraction of the unemployed accounting for nearly 35% to 50%. The rate of unemployment within the age group of 20 to 24 years is 40 % and between 15 to 19 years it is 31 %.
Under employed farm labor, also referred as disguised unemployed, makes the rural unemployment figures less accurate than those for urban unemployment. Almost 2/3 of the unemployed rural population is secondary-school graduates.
Economic growth is not the only solution to curb unemployment in Nigeria, as the official statistics illustrate that previously unemployment did not always decline with the economic growth. Other solutions such as the provision of right skills to the people to help them tackle the problems and lead a more prosperous life should also be given importance.
Recently the experts have suggested some techniques, which can play important role in curbing Unemployment in Nigeria. These include –
- Sports schools, evening clubs that teach kids to play football, swim etc
- Computer training schools and clubs that specializes in teaching programming softwares such as Java, Oracle, ASP, Cold fusion, JSP, digital photography, and video editing, etc.
- Language schools teaching foreign languages like French, Spanish, and Chinese.
- Setting up of provisional work agencies, which provides temporary staff to small companies
- People with good web and programming skills can think of starting the following projects in order to deal with the problems of unemployment – program unique JAVA based applications to be used in 3G phones, a project to structure a complete phone directory of all Nigerian phone numbers, online map project of major Nigerian cities, and project, which can provide sufficient information about everything in Nigeria.Other projects such as building solar powered water pump for use in rural areas, solar powered streetlights, hybrid powered generators using solar and battery power, can also generate employment in the Nigerian economy.