Tony John, Port Harcourt
The Executive Secretary of Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Engr. Simbi Wabote, has disclosed that records from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show that 16 million Nigerians are unemployed.
Engr. Wabote spoke yesterday, as a guest speaker at a programme organised by the Institute of Directors (IoD) in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
He noted that the number of unemployed people in the country could equal the total population of about three African countries, including Sierra Leone, Togo and Liberia put together.
Speaking on the topic: “Addressing Unemployment: Local Content as an Option,” Wabote revealed that Nigerian tertiary institutions churn out about 500,000 graduates yearly without relevant jobs for them.
He pointed out that Local Content policy could be used to address unemployment in the country, but regreted that Nigeria was the only country that produces crude oil, and imports petroleum products.
The NCDMB boss identified agriculture as a major employer of labour in the country, although Nigerians and government have not realised the value chains in the sector.
Engr. Wabote charged the IoD to use its skills to understand that the country has unemployment challenge, urging it to “think globally, but act locally”.
Earlier, the Director General and Chief Executive Officer of IoD Nigeria, Mr. Dele Alimi, noted that Rivers State is the wealth hub of the nation, and that if entrenched, local content policy would bring about good corporate governance beneficial to members of the public.
Also, in his welcome address, the Chairman, Port Harcourt Zone of IoD, Sir Innocent Harry, urged government and corporate organisations to proffer solutions to tackle unemployment problem confronting the country.