10 February 2018, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Nigeria Government has inaugurated the National Employment Council to curb the menace of rising unemployment in the country.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, who stated this while inaugurating the Council and unveiling the revised National Employment Policy, in Abuja, stressed that there is a need for a shift from reactive and temporary measures to curbing the menace of rising unemployment in the country.
He said, “Job creation policies and programme must anticipate future labour market requirements rather than reacting to it. In coordinating implementation of strategies to fast-track employment creation, we must bear in mind that such strategies are most likely to be successful.
“That is if it anticipates future labour market requirement rather than reacting to them. We have to move away from past approaches where strategies for employment creation and poverty alleviation were a response to a crisis or a temporary measure to mitigate the impact.”
Mr. Ngige, who noted that unemployment was a global challenge, observed that Nigeria like other nations needed to make concerted efforts towards curbing the menace.
The minister added that the concern is even more urgent due to the association of youth idleness to perennial violent crimes in the different parts of the country which poses a threat to socio-economic stability.
Mr. Ngige said that the task before the inaugurated council was formidable and expressed confidence in the ability of the Council to come up with the solutions to the menace.
According to him, the council should in the medium and long-term reverse the current alarming trend of unemployment.
“The task before this council is formidable. However, we have confidence in the calibre of members of this council, which is made up of renowned experts, practitioners, and policymakers in the field of development and employment promotion.
“I have no doubt in my mind that you have what it takes to proffer solutions that will ultimately halt and in the medium and long-term reverse the current unemployment situation in the country,” he said.
Nigeria’s unemployment rate worsened from 16.2 percent in the second quarter of 2017 to 18.8 percent in the third quarter of the year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data showed.
The NBS said the number of people within the labour force who were unemployed increased from 13.6 million in the second quarter of the year to 15.9 million in the third quarter of the same year, with more than two million people unemployed within the period.
Similarly, the number of underemployed increased from 17.7 million in the second quarter to 18.0 million in Q3 2017.
Data released by the NBS showed that the rise in the rate was occasioned by the economic recession that saw the nation’s growth decelerate until September 2017 when Nigeria finally exited recession.
“An economic recession is consistent with an increase in unemployment as jobs are lost and new jobs creation is stalled,” the report said.
“A return to economic growth provides an impetus to employment. However, employment growth may lag, and unemployment rates worsen especially at the end of a recession and for many months after.”
Earlier in his address, Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Bolaji Adebiyi, affirmed that unemployment, underemployment, and poverty are critical challenges that would require the concerted efforts of all stakeholders to address.
Mr. Adebiyi said it was in a bid to holistically address the unemployment crisis that the National Employment Policy was formulated.
He said this was aimed at consolidating into an integrated and coherent document, a beacon for the attainment of full employment for all Nigerians, particularly the youths.
The National Employment Council members whose membership was provided for in the National Employment Policy comprises representatives of Ministry of Labour and Employment, Ministry of Finance, and Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning.
Others are Ministry of Youths and Sports Development, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Works, Power and Housing, Ministry of Women Affairs, Ministry of Trade and Investment, Central Bank of Nigeria, National Bureau of Statistics, among others.