*No! Yes! Experts disagree
BY UDEME CLEMENT
The pronouncement by the Minister of Finance and the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr (Mrs) Ngozi Okonjoi Iweala that 10million jobs would be created, in the economy in 2014 has generated divergent views.
While some economic experts said that the time-line is not realistic, others expressed optimism that government can achieve the target, if the economy is diversified into non-oil export sectors like agriculture, manufacturing, industry as well as Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The experts opinions:
Government needs creative and dynamic entrepreneurship to create jobs-Registrar, International Logistics and Administration, Mr. Mark Iloh:
Unemployment and poverty are among the major challenges facing Nigeria and other developing economies today. We need creative and dynamic entrepreneurship techniques to tackle poverty and create jobs. Dynamic entrepreneurs who can take risk in productive industries rather than commerce will play a major role in promoting economic growth and sustainable development now and in the long-run.
For a country to develop,, there must be high-risk takers who can make large scale investments in industries to bring direct impact on the growth rate of the economy, and not only engaging in economic activities that can multiply wealth within the short-run, without actually registering its effect on growth and job creation.
“In developing countries for instance, investors are mostly found in commerce, buying, selling and importing products to make fast money, without taking the risk to build factories and invest in manufacturing industries, which are economic activities capable of creating jobs for the masses. This is as a result of poor attitude to high risk taking and innovation.
Today, few industries in the developing countries are owned by foreigners. The economic implication is that the expected benefits of these foreign firms can not be registered in the economies where they operate, as owners interest are at variance with the host country and profits are repatriated back to their countries of origin.
The vicious cycle of poverty is another challenge that must be addressed pragmatically. Poverty is another major factor hindering growth in developing countries. The less developed countries are caught up in the web of poverty. This is due to low per capita income, which leads to low demands, low savings, which leads to low investments and in turn low capital formation, which paves the way for low productivity.
The resultant effect of low productivity is low income and this runs continuously, except there is a conscious effort to break this cycle, development will continue to be a mirage. For us to achieve relative full employment, the issue of human capital must also be addressed. For example. we need good education and skill-training necessary to make the youths more productive.
Government should diversify the economy into non-oil export sectors – a former Chairman, Agriculture, Non-oil Export Trade Group, Lagos Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (LACCIMA), Dr. Godwin Oyedele Oyediji: Today, over 50 per cent of our population engage in small scale agriculture across the country. We need modern and large scale agriculture like what obtains in advanced economies to create jobs.
As such, government needs to diversify the economy into agriculture, manufacturing and non-oil export sectors to enhance capacity utilisation. This is imperative because resources in non-oil sectors, particularly agriculture can boost sustainable growth, if they are adequately harnessed. Also, various economic activities in agriculture, which include planting, harvesting and transportation of farm produce among other activities can create jobs, not only for the youths, but for other people in Nigeria.
For us to create sufficient jobs, other issues like human capital development, trade and investments in the real sector must be addressed to enhance optimum growth. These are important issues that are relevant to economic transformation agenda of the Federal Government.
Aside from job creation, agriculture must be given the desired attention to ensure food security for the country. All over the world, agriculture is an important sector because it allows sustainable growth of the economy. We can also achieve that in Nigeria, if the sector is well funded. We will derive numerous economic benefits in turning attention to agriculture, because it will discourage the budgetary system that centers on revenue from crude oil, which we do no have control over the price and demand from the international market.
I have said this before and will still repeat that, If adequately funded, the sector can create about 500.000 jobs annually. The reason being that agriculture has short and long term economic benefits, which are needed in the rural and urban areas. Looking at the aggregate economic analysis, about 70 million Nigerians are into agriculture currently. These figures include direct and indirect labour work-force in the sector. T
his is because employment generation in this sector is often classified under skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled labour. This implies that with the population of over 160million people, agriculture can take 50 per cent of the entire work-force of Nigeria, noting fully well that 50 per cent of Nigeria’s population are youths from 15 years and above. Agriculture can also generate revenue as additional source of income-flow in the economy”.
Government should boost industrial growth to create jobs – Mrs. Gloria Joseph, operator of small enterprise at Oshodi Market, Lagos: Creation of jobs in a developing economy like Nigeria with a population of over 160million requires massive industrial growth. The truth is that government alone does not have to capacity to create jobs for every citizen, but if an enabling business environment is provided for industries to spring up, the unemployment rate, which currently stands at about 24 per cent can reduce drastically.
Recently, the Federal Government launched the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) and the National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP), aimed at boosting the annual revenue for Nigerian manufacturers up to N5 trillion. Government must ensure effective implementation of this Plan and close monitoring in order to stimulate industrial development and job creation for the masses.
President Goodluck Jonathan, explained during the launch that NEDEP is a comprehensive industrialisation programme based on key areas where our economy has competitive advantage in agriculture, solid minerals, oil and gas among other areas, where Nigeria can be the number one in Africa and top 10 globally. For me, this is a good Plan, capable of creating thousands of jobs, if adequately implemented to achieve the intended purpose.