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Why FG’s job creation has not reduced unemployment

Among the programmes in this direction is the National Directorate of Employment (NDE); the Youth Enterprise with Innovation (YOUWIN), the Subsidy Re-investment Programme (SURE-P) among…

Among the programmes in this direction is the National Directorate of Employment (NDE); the Youth Enterprise with Innovation (YOUWIN), the Subsidy Re-investment Programme (SURE-P) among other interventions.
 Despite each of these programmes empowering thousands of youths among the skilled, medium manpower and the unskilled, it still appears like a drop in the ocean.
Perhaps in appreciation of the enormity of the situation, the Minister of Labour and Productivity Emeka Wogu said the SURE-P programmes is being implemented in the 36 states of the federation across political party divides.
Analysts have indentified lack of authentic biometric data and strategic orientation as the major causes of inadequate impact of the various government efforts at jobs creation and poverty reduction.
For instance, an Abuja-based legal practitioner Ali Zubairu said the inability of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to produce a biometric for all citizens has made it difficult to identify the various target segments of the population.
It is also important to note that the lack of adequate biometric is at the root of high crime rate and insecurity in Nigeria. The country does not have a verifiable record of deaths and births for efficient national planning.
A recent statistic puts Nigeria’s youth unemployment at 22 perccent. The country also has an active population of 60 percent (15 to 64 years) out of a total population of 170 million people. This can be considered alarming.
Also recently, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) produced a report on the growing rate of unemployment among youths across the globe, says global youth unemployment has increased from 12.4 percent in 2012 to 12.7 percent in 2013.
The study titled: ‘Global Employment Trends for Youths 2013: A generation at Risk’, ILO presents the varying data of unemployment for youths in advanced economies and developing regions-which shows wide disparities in the depths and policy options for governments.
For instance, in developed economies in North America and the European Union as a whole, unemployment is put at 18.1 percent in 2012. It is projected to remain at 17 percent until 2015 if the 2 percent discouragement rate is included. It will further decrease to 15.9 percent by 2018.
The variations in developing regions are significant especially with higher rates in Middle East and North Africa put at 28 percent and 23.7 percent respectively. Except East Asia-9.5 percent; South Asia-9.5 percent, unemployment rates did not increase in South Eastern Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Latin America and the Caribbean, according to the report.
Overall, ILO says the population of unemployed youths in the have increased to 73.4 million in 2013, an increase of 3.5 million in 2007.
The findings for 2013 is a food for thought for policy makers in Nigeria, where several analysts and leaders have called unemployment a “time bomb that is waiting to explode” as the country embarks on budget for a new fiscal year 2014.
Each year thousands of graduates pass out from the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme across the six geo-political zones. Most of these youths could take to crimes such as kidnapping, armed robbery, terrorism, prostitution and internet fraud.
Although, on regional basis, youth unemployment in sub Saharan Africa is significantly lower than other regions in the world, ILO says the situation is more delicate for North Africa where youth unemployment is put at 23.7 percent in 2012. Of this, young women have an even higher rate at 37.0 percent, compared with the male at 18.3 percent.
This is instructive considering that North Africa has seen the worst forms of youth unrest in recent years with political ramifications known as the ‘Arab Spring’. This situation, which has been buoyed by the social media, cannot be contemplated for a country like Nigeria.
To avert this scenario, the ILO recommends that policy makers should pursue increase employment and economic policies to increase aggregate demand and improved access to finance; education and training to increase school-to-work transition and to prevent labour market mismatches.
Other recommendations include: labour market policies to target employment of disadvantaged youth; entrepreneurship and self employment to assist potential young entrepreneurs; and labour rights that are based on international labour standards to ensure that young people receive equal treatment.
Governments at all levels are enjoined to introduce new data policies be able to reach the target youth their various job intervention programmes.

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