Fred Itua, Abuja
The Senate, yesterday, raised the alarm over the escalating unemployment’ warning of an imminent crisis should the federal, state, and local governments fail to take steps to create jobs for citizens.
Former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, had raised a motion on the country’s unemployment rate based on recent statistics by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The Senate which in its consideration and adoption of the motion urged government to declare emergency on unemployment and come up with ways to end the crisis.
It urged government to launch an unemployment fund where stipends would be warehoused and paid to unemployment persons pending when they secure jobs.
Quoting the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, the lawmaker raised alarm that Nigeria’s unemployment rate will hit 33.5 percent by 2020.
“Any nation with such number of unemployed but employable youths is only sitting on a keg of gun powder.
“We are concerned that the large numbers of various levels of graduates that our high institutions are turning out yearly, but cannot be absorbed by the labour market, are a time bomb waiting to explode. Report published by the National Bureau of Statistics in 2019 states that Nigeria’s unemployment rate stood at 23.1 per cent of the workforce in the third quarter of 2019
“The most pressing demand on the hand of every legislator and public officer is the rising number of curriculum vitae and application for employment from constituent Nigerians.
“A situation where every school graduate has to queue up for job only in government offices is an indication of the breakdown of private sector which is the major driver of world economies. Unemployed Nigerian youths with potential talents lying idle and wasting away are usually misdirected toward many unprofitable and harmful ventures and lifestyles,” the senate said as part of its resolutions.
Titled “Escalating rate of unemployment in the country”, the Senate pleaded with the Ministry of National Planning to put up mechanisms and programmes that would provide employment for graduates/youths.
It urged the federal, state, and local governments to resuscitate the existing industries, build new ones, and provide a conducive and enabling environment for the private sector to build more industries.
Ekweremadu in his submission had said “unemployment is one of the major causes of upsurge in rural-urban migration which put pressure on facilities at the urban centres. Unemployment is one of the major reasons why insurgency, kidnapping, armed robbery, cybercrimes and other vices are on the increase.
“A situation where every graduate has to queue up for job only in government offices is an indication of the breakdown of private sector, which is the major driver of world economies. These energies and potential talents that are lying idle and wasting away are usually misdirected toward many unprofitable and harmful ventures and lifestyles,” he said.
Senator Istifanus Gyang, in his contribution described unemployment as “a monster that, if Nigerians are not careful, can consume us as a nation.”
Another lawmaker, Olubunmi Adetumbi, decried the inability of the private sector to address the escalating rate of unemployed persons in the country.