The Senate on Wednesday, 11 December, 2019, waded into the issue of unemployment in the country and recommended solutions to the executive arm of government for adoption and implementation.
Accordingly, the upper chamber while urging the Federal, State and Local government to declare emergency on the provision of employment across the country, called on the Ministry of National Planning to put a mechanism and programme in place to achieve this.
The Senate, which advised the Federal, States and Local Governments to revitalize existing industries, urged the executive arm to initiate sustainable employment fund for the payment of stipends to unemployed Nigerians until such persons secure employment.
These were resolutions reached after consideration of a motion on the “Escalating Rate of Employment in the Country”, sponsored by Senator Ike Ekweremadu.
Ekweremadu, who brought the motion to the floor through reliance on orders 42 and 52 of the Senate standing rules, lamented that the large number of graduates from high institutions of learning in the country yearly without jobs is a “time bomb waiting to explode”.
Citing a report published by the National Bureau of Statistics in 2019, Senator Ekweremadu stated that Nigeria’s unemployment rate stood at 23.1 percent of the work force in the third quarter of 2019.
Quoting the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, the lawmaker raised alarm that 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.
“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.
The lawmaker added that unemployed Nigerian youths with potential talents “lying idle and wasting away are usually misdirected toward many unprofitable and harmful ventures and lifestyles.”
He said that the most active percentage of the nation’s population is forcefully kept away from participating in the economic development of their fatherland and contributing toward the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by unemployment.
Attributing the high level of crime in any society to the high rate of unemployment, Ekweremadu stated that “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.”
Senator Istifanus Gyang (PDP, Plateau North), in his contribution, described unemployment as “a monster that, if we (Nigerians) are not careful, can consume us as a nation.”
Another lawmaker, Olubunmi Adetumbi (APC, Ekiti North) decried the inability of the private sector to address the escalating rate of unemployed persons in the country.
According to him, the government on the other hand lacks the capacity to create jobs, as doing so would create an expansion in the fiscal responsibility of government.