By Victor Ahiuma-Young

THE high rate of unemployment in Nigeria has once again come to focus at the gathering of employers under the aegis of Chemical and Non-Metallic Products Employer’s Federation, CANMPEF.

At its 43rd Annual General Meeting, AGM, for the 2021, CANMPEF warned that the yearly rise in unemployment figures is serious concerns for the Nigeria’s economy as well as socio-peace and social stability.

Addressing members and guests, CANMPEF’s President, Devakumar Edwin, equally raised the alarm over upsurge in  emigration of the young talents, warning that a looming draught in work-age population may be inevitable. 

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Among others, he said “Nigeria unemployment rate for 2021 was 9.79 percent, a 0.07 percent increase from 2020. Similarly, unemployment rate for 2020 was 9.71 percent, a 1.18 percent increase from 2019. In addition to Nigeria’s growing population, the yearly rise in unemployment figures is serious concerns for the economy as well as socio-peace and social stability.

“To address ongoing rise of unemployment, government needs to provide incentives to sectors of the economy that have potential to generate huge employment figures.

“More focus should be attributed to job creation in the nation’s economic plans and agenda across the tiers of government.

“According to the United Nations, Nigeria is expected to be the world’s third most populous country by 2050, with over 300 million people with 60 percent of its population under 50 years.

“Taking proactive actions, government must throw its weight behind agriculture to provide raw material input for industries; manufacturing to provide finished goods for consumption and export; information communication technology to enable process efficiency; power and energy sector for effective power-up of industry and households as well as education and skill acquisition to improve the income earning potential of its citizens.

“Another crucial reason to address the unemployment situation that is of grave concern to the sustainability of Nigeria’s industrial sector is the recent huge emigration of the young talents for greener pastures or education. By implication a looming drought in work-age population may be inevitable. Already, some sectors such as health, ICT and engineering are showing strains of lean workforce. 

“To increase the nation’s foreign exchange earning opportunities, all hands must on decks to reverse the lingering resource curse through deliberate value addition agenda into raw materials and resources. Policy makers can take cue from Action Plan on Critical Raw Materials by the European Commission unveiled in September 2020.

“The government should consistently take on bold initiatives in collaboration with the private sector to reform the electricity sector. The laudable Presidential Power Initiative launched in 2019 should be pursued vigorously to ensure timely and successful completion.”

Looking into the future, Edwin added that “While our members through patriotic commitment navigate the tough current economic terrain, our federation will continue to avail its platform to share knowledge and exchange information.

Drawing on lessons from year 2020 to 2021, we urge our members to digitally incorporate their processes, focus on operational efficiency, diversity supply sources (backward and forward integration), and cost management to create and compete favourably.”

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