The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) revealed, in 2022, that the population of Nigeria has attained 216 million. Also, in its World Population Prospects 2022, it was estimated by DESA that global population has hit 8 billion people. It further said that over half of the predicted rise in global population till 2050 would be contributed by eight countries, including Nigeria. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) also released its 2022 Multidimensional Poverty Index survey at about the same time.
In the survey, NBS stated that over 50 percent of the Nigerian population — 133 million Nigerians — were multidimensionally poor. It highlighted the rapid growth of Nigeria, which was said to be at an annual rate of 2.6 percent — an high in comparison to others. The country’s population is regarded as an economic advantage. It has a massive youth population as about 70 percent of Nigerians are under 30 years and 42 percent are below 15 years old.
Poverty rate increases with the high rate of unemployment.
Despite this population, Nigeria emerged 163rd among 193 countries in the 2021 Human Development Index of the United Nations. Therefore, it was said that the absence of marketable skills has fueled the rate of unemployment in the country, and affected the economy. Poverty rate increases with the high rate of unemployment. The World Bank had said that between 2019 and 2025, the number of Nigerians living below the national poverty level is expected to increase by 13 million.
Shortage of skilled labour and the unemployment challenges are attributed to lack of appropriate skills, and in some cases, foreigners with required skills take on jobs supposed to be done by Nigerians. The Dangote Refinery, for instance, has 11,000 skilled workers from India employed under it, abandoning Nigerian youths, and those from other African countries. The Sub-Saharan African Skills and Apprenticeship Stakeholders Network (SASASNET), amidst giving an explanation concerning this decision, said, in July, that Nigerian youths do not have sufficient skills required for the job.
An economist blamed the gov’t for not planning for manpower needs.
SASASNET, in a communiqué that has the signature of Ousman Sillah, its Secretary-General, noted the need for its engagement in consistent public awareness to change the contrary mindset of the public concerning the values of apprenticeship and skills. Artisans from other countries have interests in learning skills that they engage in it from a tender age. President of the Association of Skilled Vocational Artisans of Nigeria, Everest Obijuru, has also said that some people regard apprenticeship as being trained for futureless jobs.
He added that for the nation to experience progress, there is a need to encourage skill acquisition. Former President Buhari had said that vocational education is significant to prepare the needed manpower for the developing Nigerian economy, but the youths express apathy towards it. An economist, Prof. Akpan Edet, blamed this trend on the government’s failure to make plans for the need of its manpower as it has placed more priority on degrees than technical skills.
Ministry of Edu. says FG provided enabling environment to acquire skills.
Another economist, Dr. Akin Akinleye, decried the increasing attraction of many youths in fraud and sport betting. He added that without a measure to curtail the situation, there will be a rise in the rate of unemployment as the country’s population increases. While some of Nigerian youths are after white-collar jobs, another vast percentage of the population attracted to the get-rich-quick syndrome which includes venturing into online fraud — popularly known as “yahoo” and betting. Reacting to the trend, the Director of Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Education, Ben Bem Goong, said that the Federal Government had provided the enabling environment and required facilities for skills acquisition.
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