If there is one issue that can never be overflogged in Nigeria’s polity, it is how to engage her teeming youths in socioeconomic activities through job creation. Analysts are of the view that, the issue of job creation vis-a-vis unemployment is as crucial as social security, economic growth and national security of Nigeria.
Last year’s unemployment statistics in the country is very discouraging. For instance, the World Bank report puts the unemployment rate in Nigeria at 22% while youth unemployment rate stood at 38%. The National Population Commission, NPC, according to reports, reeled out inconsolable facts stating that, unemployment in Nigeria jumped up from 21.1% in 2010 to 23.9% in 2011. It also painted an ironic picture of the nation’s economic growth rate saying that it does not have any impact in terms of economic empowerment via job creation.
Quoting figures from the National Bureau of Statistics, NPC maintained that the nation’s rapid economic growth has not translated into effective job creation. The NBS estimates that Nigeria’s population grew by 3.2% in 2011, from 159.3 million people in 2010 to 164.4 million in 2011, reflecting rapid population growth.
In 2011, Nigeria’s unemployment rose to 23.9% compared with 21.1% in 2010. Another report had put unemployment rate in the country in 2011 at about 35%.
Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, at a recent economic forum, admitted that government is not creating enough jobs. Job creation rate in the country should grow annually to 10%, she said.
The above figures present graphic agony of what Nigerian graduates and unskilled youths pass through daily in search of jobs. The situation is probably worse for those without formal education, which is a fundamental source of empowering individuals with the requisite capacity for gainful employment or job creation.
Recently, President Goodluck Jonathan made a public promise to Nigerians that his administration would create more jobs this year through sustainable and strong macroeconomic fundamentals. In addition, he promised to scale-up investments in safety nets and the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, to take care of the poor and vulnerable.
By all means, this is a beautiful statement. However, Nigerians are waiting to see how it can be translated into meaningful action. It is clear that the growing number of unemployed and unemployable graduates in the country is increasingly diminishing the efforts of the Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria, YouWiN, the National Directorate of Employment, National Poverty Eradication Programme and other agencies of government that have been creating jobs.
The present administration should see job creation as a veritable tool for curtailing crimes, kidnapping, violence, thuggery and armed robbery among youths in the country. Government should also tackle corruption in the use of funds budgeted for job creation. It should also properly fund job creation programmes and monitor its disbursement religiously.


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