From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
The Federal Government has described crude oil theft as the primary cause of the nation’s deteriorating unemployment rate. Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, stated this while speaking at the 8th Meeting of the National Employment Council in Abuja, says a statement by the ministry. He said the problem had impeded the Federal Government’s ability to provide jobs for the nation’s teeming young population.
Ngige, who is the chairman of the council, lamented that oil theft had made Nigeria to become a mendicant nation, resorting to begging for survival. He said, “I am aware that you people know that we are at a very critical stage in our nation’s life. We have economic problems all over the world, but our own in Nigeria is self-inflicted. Our main source of revenue is oil.
“But, in the oil sector, two things are happening. One: Nigeria is not meeting her production quota. Our OPEC production quota used to be 2.2 million barrels per day. It slipped down to 1.8 million barrels. Now, we cannot even produce the 1.8 million barrels. We are hovering around 1.1 million barrels per day, and they told us that some people are stealing our crude oil.
“This is a very serious matter, because it has made us become very mendicant. We are now a mendicant nation, resorting to begging for survival. We cannot continue that way, because it has hampered our efforts to create jobs for our teeming youthful population.” He blamed the overflowing joblessness for the youth restiveness all over the country.
He said: “Unemployment is not confined to Nigeria, but our own is worse because in other climes, people are earning money from blue collar jobs. Here, we have no blue collar jobs for our workforce.”
He recommended the incorporation of the Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy into the National Employment Council, being that we are in a digital age which made for the creation of digital jobs. He described digital jobs as the best way to absolve the bulging mass of youths that are now unemployed.