By Victor Ahiuma-Young
THERE is no doubt that many Nigerians and organisations are concerned over the alarming rate of unemployment especially among army of able-bodied college graduates in the country and several suggestions have been proffered as panacea.
Issue of unemployment was also topical at the 31st Annual General Meeting, AGM, of Chemical and Non-Metallic Products Employersâ€™ Federation, CANMPEL, held few days ago in Lagos, where the federation called on government to establish a linkage between the production of manpower and the labour market.
For CANMPEL, the problem of unemployment in Nigeria, is compounded by large population of unemployable college graduates.
Addressing guests, President of CANMPEL, Dr. B. O. Makanjuola said: â€œThe government wants to tackle the problem of unemployment but she is going about it the wrong way. The Minister of Labour and Productivity has announced the intention of the government to build a database on all unemployed persons principally to check unemployment and to provide a tool for helping to provide jobs for Nigerians. How can setting up a data collation project be a priority in arresting the unemployment monster that is about to suck out the life blood of the nation? This cannot be a solution in the short term.
I think the Minister should concern himself with measures that can promote employment-generating initiatives. The government is expected to introduce policies that will encourage entrepreneurship and help employers of labour in the private sectors who are hamstrung by unfriendly economic climate. There is also the need to quickly establish a proper linkage between the production of manpower and the labour market.
One other issue that should be ofÂ worry to the government is the increasing skills deficit in the country represented by the large population of unemployable college graduates. There is a clarion call in the land for the Ministry of Labour and Productivity to get going in making meaningful contribution in securing our nation from catastrophic economic meltdown.â€
â€œAt the last 5th Lagos Economic Summit, a visiting professor of economics, Paul Collier, submitted that elsewhere in the world, concentrated population growth are usually associated with productivity growth but it is not so in Nigeria. Suffice to say that this is not peculiar to Nigeria. On the African continent, in general, cities and states in Africa have been growing, but there has not been a corresponding growth in productivity.â€
In his secretariat report, the Executive Secretary of the Federation, Mr. E. R. Ali, decried the monolithic nature of the nationâ€™s economy and called for a diversification.
He said: â€œThere was a general lull in economic activities in the year under review as it was adversely affected by the global financial crisis and the associated economic downturn as seen in a fall in share prices and market capitalization, balance of payment, pressures emanating from lower commodity prices, especially oil, reduced government revenue and a decline in foreign exchange reserves.
If the country is to achieve sustainable growth, there should be diversification of the economy. Furthermore, it is rather unfortunate that the epileptic situation of electricity supply in the country is still unresolved. We call on the Federal Government to proffer a panacea to this national problem.â€