WHY UNEMPLOYMENT IS HIGH IN NIGERIA?

By: Sydney Okafor

Nigeria, which is the biggest black nation in the world, ought to have a very strong economy capable of employing almost all employable citizens.  But unfortunately, the unemployment rate in Nigeria is alarming,

What is Unemployment?

Unemployment is the situation of actively looking for employment but not being currently employed.

That is unemployment on a layman’s way. The reason why unemployment is so high in Nigeria is as a result of the following below

Epileptic power supply

Corruption

Poor quality of education

Lack of skills

Negligence of natural resources and agriculture

Etc.

Epileptic Power Supply: The lack of a regular electric power supply is the biggest cause of unemployment in Nigeria. Talking of how lack of electricity has caused unemployment in Nigeria, the matter is multi-faceted.

Many foreign companies that would have come to invest in this country (considering the big marketing vista in Nigeria) and which would have provided many employment opportunities to Nigerians to reduced unemployment, have changed direction to other neighbouring countries with constant electricity supply in order to avoid operating at loss with 24-hours running of generators (which) is now becoming the tradition in Nigeria.

The same problem has affected many local companies which could not cope with the high cost of running electric plants/generators all the time and were thus forced to fold up and threw their employees into the labour market.

Corruption: what is Corruption?

 Corruption can be defined as an immoral action which could involve bribery, embezzlement or misappropriation of public funds for personal use. A corrupt government can be said to be a government which makes use of public funds for their (the government officials’) personal and selfish use.

Corruption is a cause of unemployment Nigeria because when those in government who are to use public money for building more industries are busy embezzling the funds for their selfish use, the result is the massive increase in unemployment rate. When corruption is taken as the normal routine, functions which are to be performed by three or even four persons are taken up by only one person and that one person collects all the salaries meant for the three or four persons.

In the same vein, we often hear of ‘ghost workers’ in some government establishments where names of imaginary workers are added to payrolls and some few corrupt bosses collect such salaries at the end of the month without any work done.  The result of all these immoral acts is increased unemployment for the masses.

Poor Quality of Education: Every year, many graduates come out from the universities and colleges of education in Nigeria with little or nothing to contribute to the society.

The reason is that there are little facilities and ill-equipped lecturers/instructors who rendered poor services to the graduates when they were in their institutions.

 And so, the graduates come out of school half-baked, without the practical background to make the good impact to the society, neither are they able to defend the certificates which they are holding. The result is that they add to the unemployment level of the country each year.

Lack of Skills: Another problem that is closely related to that of poor quality education, as a cause of unemployment in Nigeria, is of lack of skills.

For many years running, most Nigerian youths have disdained acquisition of skills, thinking that the time spent on such is wasted, and opting for so-called ‘clean-shirt’ and ‘easy’ ways of making money.  With such mentality, these youths have grown into middle-age and even senior age without any skill to fall, thus becoming liabilities to themselves and others.

On the other hand, it is hard to see any person who is full of skills suffering from unemployment. A skillful person can adjust to many situations and environments and at least, feed himself and his household appropriately.

It is, therefore, recommended that graduates who studied various fields of engineering — mechanical, electrical/electronics, etc. — should humble themselves to do practical training or apprenticeship in workshops of technicians for practical knowledge.  In that way, such graduates will be fully equipped for employment (by employers or by themselves) and help reduce unemployment in the country.

Negligence of Natural Resources and Agriculture: Nigeria, as a country, is blessed with many un-utilized resources which are enough to gainfully engage every unemployed person.  But the craze for quick ‘oil money’ has made both government and individuals direct all attention to only the oil industry.

Those who are older would recall that the Federal Government and the Regional Governments of Nigeria managed the country with agricultural and other natural resources before the ‘oil boom’ (which has now become ‘oil gloom’). In those days, cocoa production was the mainstay in Western Nigeria (with the famous Cocoa House built from the proceeds); groundnut production was the mainstay in Northern Nigeria with the fame of the ‘Groundnut Pyramids’ back then;  coal from Udi in Enugu, was the mainstay of Eastern Nigeria while rubber and palm oil were the mainstays of Midwestern Nigeria.

It is hereby recommended that the various governments of Nigeria, as well as rich individuals, should establish mechanized farms in various parts of the country to absolve many job-seekers.  In the same vein, the Federal Government could compel the various multi-national companies operating in Nigeria, to establish a farm as a way of boosting the economy and engaging more job-seeking Nigerians, to reduce unemployment in the country.

In conclusion, if these major causes of unemployment are put into consideration by the federal government of Nigeria, it will definitely help reduce the high rate of unemployment.

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