Despite efforts by the Nigerian government to address the country’s employment deficit, a recent rating has revealed that Nigeria holds the highest unemployment rate globally. The fast rising rate, if not managed properly, will cause significant problems for the nation. According to statistics, at 33.3%, Nigeria has the highest rate globally. South Africa ranks second with 32.9%, followed by Spain (13.2%), Greece (11.2%), and Colombia (10.7%). The countries having the lowest rate are Switzerland (2.0%), Singapore (1.8%), Thailand (1.05%), Cambodia (0.36%), and Qatar (0.1%). However, between four and six percent represents a level of unemployment that is considered to be acceptable.
In 2018, the rate was estimated by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) to be 23.1%; it has increased to 33.3% since 2020 and may have already exceeded that mark. The unemployment rate among young people is 42.5%. Also, KPMG, a renowned consulting organisation, predicted that in 2022, the rate would reach 37.7 percent. Its “Global Economy Outlook” report revealed that the rate is expected to reach 40.6% in 2023 and 43% in 2024. The lack of industrialisation, private sector investment, slow economic development, and the incapacity of the economy to accommodate the five million fresh individuals to the labour market yearly were cited as the key reasons why this problem may persist, according to KPMG.
Over 100 global corporations have left the country.
Many young people have nowhere to go and do nothing in many cities and rural areas. Many of those who graduate from institutions each year are not ready to work for themselves. Their schooling is geared toward getting them white-collar jobs, and there aren’t many sufficient companies to employ them. Due to insufficient infrastructure and severe operating conditions, over 100 global corporations have left Nigeria. Pfizer, Leventis, Dunlop, and Michelin are just a few of them. Many of the ones that are around are having trouble maintaining their operations, and there have been cases of reductions in staff.
Only a few young individuals are willing to take the chance to start their own businesses. Some self-employed people feel unsettled by government regulations or other causes after a few years. Some youths commit fraud and rituals for money. Many move abroad for better opportunities, but only highly sought-after professionals like doctors and nurses make it there. Rising unemployment is linked to high crime rates. Terrorism, banditry, and cultism also lure idle youths. Boko Haram is active in the North. Unknown gunmen have caused chaos across the South-East. Kidnappers and other criminals have ruined life in the South-West.
Entrepreneurship is a key factor for curbing employment issues.
Furthermore, the plague of unemployment must be addressed before attempting to combat the wave of insecurity. The first step is to examine the content of the current educational system. Entrepreneurship education needs to be mandatory. After finishing school, students should be encouraged to work in the business area related to their course. Technical college students should be motivated to put their classroom knowledge into practice. The more serious ones should be the ones to receive government funds to start their own businesses. Given the prevalence of artificial intelligence and the rise of robotic labour, there may not be a huge demand for human labourers in the future. Nigeria would benefit greatly from an early focus on self-employment or entrepreneurship.
An apprenticeship system known as “igba boi” is being practised by the Igbo people, and this entails working for a well-established business or individual in its field for a period of time, typically between five and seven years. At the end of the agreement, the boss then gives the apprentice a sum of money to help him get started. The youth in the South East have benefited greatly from this system, but it now appears to be in jeopardy. These days, many young people would rather take the easy way out and make their money the dubious way. The apprenticeship model should be revived to help reduce unemployment.
Agriculture can alleviate the country’s current challenges.
Additionally, the country needs to embrace agriculture back because it has the ability to engage a significant number of youths. Also, it has the potential to assist in alleviating the severe hunger that is currently affecting Nigeria. The days of easy money from oil are long gone. The government should do its part to support businesses and individuals who are employers of workers by providing the necessary resources and an atmosphere that is conducive to the success of businesses. More so, it ought to provide tax exemptions and attract overseas investors by enacting measures to its advantage.