IF you believe what the government says, it has created millions of jobs, the only challenge is that millions of Nigerians who need the jobs do not know what the jobs are, or how to apply for them.
It appears to be a trap from which there is no escape for the government or the millions of unemployed Nigerians.
Are there jobs? Yes, but not the millions that the government promised, and definitely not the other jobs that multiplier effects of government’s policies should spin. In making its forecasts, government did not consider the militating effects of poor infrastructure that continues to depreciate.
Government officials had caught the buzz words, “value chain.” They repeat them as if on their own to make any changes to the unemployment situation. It is true that the government has some programmes that have created “values”, what is left is the “chain” to link the values to spurn the new jobs, new opportunities, which if the projections hold, would continue a spiral that would result in more jobs.
A vast improvement on roads, rails, electricity, and water would help with industrialisation, and reduce the cost of business. These would attract more businesses and the chain would continue as Nigerians develop more competitive capacities and competences in various fields.
Unemployment is not new. The scandals with employment into ministries and government agencies are relatively new. Government officials demand bribes to hand out few jobs that are available. It is a case of demand and supply — where there is scarcity, as is the case with jobs, decision makers explore the situation.
Fraudsters have learnt well too, setting up their own websites with which they sponge millions of Naira off desperate job seekers. Government’s decision in the case of Nigeria Immigration Service shows it can tackle job racketeering.
Section 17 (3) (a) of the 1999 Constitution states that, “All citizens, without discrimination on any group whatsoever, have the opportunity for securing adequate means of livelihood as well as adequate opportunity to secure suitable employment.” It is a nebulous provision that does not hold anyone responsible for creating jobs.
According to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics, NBS, 23.9 per cent of Nigerians were unemployed in 2011; and the first half of 2012. This indicated an increase from 21.1 per cent in 2010 and 19.7 per cent in 2009. The unofficial figures could be higher. The NBS had in 2012, disclosed that 67 million youths were unemployed! Perhaps, more saddening is that influential Nigerians hijack jobs for their relations at the expense of qualified applicants.
Governments have to keep improving infrastructure and economic policies to halt the ticking bomb of unemployment.