Tackling Unemployment: Ogun State Perspective

By: Kemi Ogungbade

The incidence of unemployment in Nigeria in this 21st century is becoming alarming as its rate keeps rising despite all efforts put in place by local, states and Federal government to cushion its effects on the political, social and economic spheres. The term “unemployment” could be referred to as a situation in which any of the factors of production, especially man, is not properly utilized for effective productivity.

Unemployment generally refers to the situation in which people who fall within the workable age are without jobs. The International Labour Organization (ILO) defines the term “Unemployment” as numbers of the economically active population who are without jobs but available and seeking employment including people who have left their jobs. According to a recent survey conducted by the I.L.O, it was discovered that about 172 million of the global workforce representing 5percent are not gainfully employed.

Unemployment is not limited to Nigeria, it is a global phenomenon, and the unemployment rate of each country defers to one another. The unemployment rate of France as at year 2020 is 8.34 percent, Italy in year 2019 is 9.9 percent and according to the Office for National Statistics (O.N.S), the unemployment rate for the United Kingdom is 4.8 percent. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigeria’s unemployment rate as at the second quarter of the year 2020 stood at 27.1percent and underemployment at 28.6 percent.

Unemployment is rising worldwide, generally unmitigated and increasingly made worse by “jobless growth”. This alarming contemporary phenomenon which liberal economists have accepted as an inevitable corollary of technological progress spells the doom of the deregulated capitalist system as it operates today. Although it’s a global challenge, unemployment could arise as a result of insufficiency and non-availability of jobs which correspond with the growing population could however be either voluntary or involuntary.

Voluntary employment is defined as a situation when a person chooses not to work either because of not being able to find employment of his or her choice because they consider the wage rate too low while involuntary unemployment on the other hand exists when persons who are eligible and willing to work at the market wage or below are unable to secure employments. Other types of unemployment includes Structural, frictional, cyclical, classical unemployment among others.

Several factors have been attributed as factors contributing to the alarming rate of Unemployment in the country and Africa at large, some of which are population growth, low standard of education, rural-urban migration, competition caused by globalization and international trade, technologies and inventions, government policies, regulation and market forces amongst other emerging factors.

The rate of Unemployment in the country which also affects Ogun State just like any other Nigerian State has been a concern for the Prince Dapo Abiodun-led administration in Ogun State. The administration has made the fight against youth unemployment feature prominently in its developmental pillar encapsulated as “ISEYA” which stands for Infrastructure, Social welfare and well-being, Health, Education, Youth Empowerment, Culture and religion and Agriculture.

Various programmes have been put in place to empower the youths, vulnerable and women; one of such is the launch of the “Ogun State job portal” in August 2019 where 20 persons were given immediate employment into the state Civil Service. Over 300 jobs have been advertised with single repository jobs for over 250,000 youths so far through the portal. The State government through the state job portal has also recruited 1500 teachers for the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and recruitment of 1500 teachers for the Teaching Service Commission (TESCOM) making a total of 3000 teachers for the two government agencies.

With a view to create jobs and empowerment through the development of various vocational skills among its teeming youths in order to gainfully engage them and  thereby reduce thuggery, hooliganism and other social vices common among youths, the office of Job Creation and Youth Empowerment was created. Furthermore, the office of Job Creation in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture selected over 50,000 Agricultural-oriented youths into the Anchor borrowers Schemes. The programme is currently at varied stages of disbursement.

In addition, recruitment of 100 staff for Ogun State civil service staff verification exercise in collaboration with the office of the Chief Economic Adviser, Access Bank and upper link is another commendable effort. Also, as part of its human capacity development there was Oko Owo Dapo which is technology-driven enabling the government to empower 2000 market women with loans to support their business in order to reduce poverty.

As part of the development pillar to provide skills and capacity building and empowering youths, the State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun has also announced the creation of 5,000 jobs for unskilled youths in different vocational disciplines for youths across the 20 Local Government Areas of the State. The program provides apprenticeship for skill acquisition across different industries including construction, health, transportation, while the government will provide monthly allowance for participants during the course of the training.

The State government through the state job portal has also recruited 1500 teachers for the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and recruitment of 1500 teachers for the Teaching Service Commission (TESCOM) making a total of 3000 teachers for the two government agencies. The state has also facilitated various Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) funds to make the youths in the State benefit from various government interventions.

Recently, the Ogun State government earmarked the sum of N6B for youth empowerment in the 2021 appropriation bill. The amount budgeted is to provide employment, empowerment and enabling environment for youths in the coming fiscal year. Despite the efforts put in place by the Ogun State government to tackle and combat unemployment, the government still cannot do it alone, hence there is a call on the private sector to support the government by recruiting through the state job portal to reduce unemployment in the state while youths are enjoined to leverage the various avenues from the government and private sector to their advantage.

Ogungbade, is of the Ministry of Information and Strategy, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, Ogun State.

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