05 November, Sweetcrude, LAGOS —- IMMEDIATE past World Bank’s Vice President for Africa, Oby Ezekwesili, has advised the Nigerian government to quickly tackle the rising rate of unemployment in the country as its rate was estimated to be around 40 per cent of the entire population.
Ezekwesili, who gave the advice at the weekend in Lagos, said: “I am one of those Nigerians who are praying for Nigeria oil to dry up so that our government can quickly take immediate actions towards diversifying the nation’s source of revenue.
Alternative to oil should emerge immediately to cure the oil politics in our nation.”
Speaking as a guest speaker at the 16th Success Digest Enterprises Awards Presentation Dinner, weekend, in Lagos, the former World Bank’s Vice President and also a recently appointed member to the Board of Directors of Bharti Airtel in Africa, said: “Nigeria ruins its opportunities to grow economically with the likes of Singapore, Malaysia etc that had their independence almost the same period with our country, simply because Nigeria lacked the instrumentality of entrepreneurship of the public sector which had helped its contemporaries to grow tremendously.”
She further advised that a census on unemployment should be carried out, saying: “The problem of unemployment requires a more aggressive method or identity towards addressing it, than what is currently being done. I acknowledge that the government from the blue print is demonstrating an effort to addressing it. The effort should be enhanced considering the havoc unemployment is creating in this country.
Census on unemployment
“Government at whatever level should be responsible for addressing this and create jobs. Half of our population is youth within the ages of 18 and 32, but about 40 per cent of our population is unemployed. There is an average of two million new unemployed youth every year joining the existing stock year by year. I suggest that a census of unemployed youth be done in Nigeria immediately.”
While speaking on the topic entitled: “Nurturing an entrepreneurial mindset” Ezekwesili said: “Government has a responsibility to the people by providing necessary and adequate infrastructure needed to boost the economy. Taxation and other levies should not be a hindrance to business if government is able to provide every amenity needed by entrepreneurs as it is in the United States that is regarded as father of capitalism.
“Public sector has responsibility for describing the direction and vision it wants the economy to go. Public sector requires quality leadership to build good nation. For a new Nigeria to emerge, we need a public sector that has entrepreneurial mindset that should be able to spur the private sector towards achieving economic growth. Our governments have underperformed over several decades as the country has been driven with people with deficit of integrity, lack of confidence, lack of competence and above all lack of structural innovation ability.”
Ezekwesili also advocated that skilled and well diagnostic programme of entrepreneur be developed and decentralized throughout the community within Nigeria as part of the ways towards reducing the alarming rate of unemployment.