The situation of the Nigerian youths in the labour market has remained a worrisome development as youth employment and job losses a countrywide issue, which the government of the day is yet to tackle.
More worrisome is the poor working state and the miserable remuneration of the employed youths, and the increase in the number of those withdrawn from the work force. Conversely, unemployment has remained a perennial problem that the Nigerian youths have lived to battle with everyday.
A study by the central intelligence agency (CIA) reveals that unemployment rate in Nigeria a taken a huge and staggering leap from four percent to twenty one percent.
No doubt, the sack windstorm across various sectors has contributed to the increasing number of jobless people in the economy. According to data released by the National Bureau of statistic, NBS, the unemployment grew from 12.44 million in 2009 to 13.9million in 2010 and further 16.74million in 2011. In 2015, the figure had already increased to 39.38million, which represent about 134.6percent rise. Experts say the increase is alarming because it is a far cry from the expected rate and attribute it to the rising poverty rate in the country, which NBS confirmed make about 100 million Nigerians live on less than $1 per day, NBS also revealed that an average of 1.8million people enters the labour market every year but only 10 percent of them smiles home with jobs.
The gross domestic product, GDP, witnessed a growth rate of between seven and eight percent over the last couple of years. Wit this, the nation’s economy has demonstrated it can be one of the best economy in the world. Ironically, status of Nigerians keeps sliding further into poverty, not just because of the soaring double-digit inflation , but also owing to the fact that growth in the economy has not been impacting on an average people by way of job creation. Despite the directive by the Federal Government, cautioning the new generation banks that were hitherto the highest employers of labour market in Nigeria, to desist from sacking its workers, the Nigerian Banking industry has made it a tradition to lay-off workers whenever it is faced with economic challenges.
For instance, the series of mergers and acquisition in the banking sector, which is part of the reform embarked upon by the central bank of Nigeria, CBN, since 2009 has brought untold suffering to many workers in the sector. The sack windstorm was not limited to rescued and nationalized banks. Zenith Bank among others also disengaged is senior staffs. The bank said the affected workers were asked to leave to reduce the company’s wage bill because the bank had too many senior employees in its workforce. Sideways from the banking sector, other major sectors of the economy also experienced the season of job losses. Tens of thousands of professionals in telecoms, aviation, manufacturing and public sectors lost their jobs. In the telecoms sector, about 3,000 Nigerians almost lost their jobs in the customer care centers of Airtel but for the intervention of Civil society groups and the National Assembly. The workers were to be laid off despite the fact that Nigeria’s telecommunication sector is widely acclaimed to be one of the fastest growing the world. Pyramid Research, a London based study group, projects that the sector is expected to grow by 5.9percent between 2011 and 2016.
In the manufacturing sector, it is estimated that over two mllion peple lost their jobs between 2005 and 2015.
According to a survey conducted by the Manufacturers association of Nigeria, MAN, the sector’s employment declined from 2.7million in 2005 to 866,395 in 2010. The development was traced to dismal power supply, high fluctuating industrial fuel pricing, and the inconsistent policy regimes, among other factors. The industrialists also blamed the job losses on fiscal and monetary trends in the country, the challenge of insecurity, infrastructure, multiple taxes and levies. Nigeria’s clear dream to become one of the top 20 economies in the world would be mirage unless a virile manufacturing sector was created and sustained. Economic experts have since observed that it is small businesses and entrepreneurial firms that account for almost 70 percent of job in most economies. But in Nigeria, numerous hurdles scare people from doing business in the country, which stifle the development and growth of crucial sectors. These include lack of infrastructural facilities, especially electricity and transport, a dysfunctional and corrupt public service that frustrates businessmen and lack of credit to the productive sectors.
Under this kind of environment, small and medium scale businesses hardly survives. In all, the worry is whether the federal government through its economy transformation agenda will be able to lay a solid foundation for agriculture and manufacturing as means of creating jobs.