Economic and labour experts have expressed worry over the rising level of youth unemployment in the country, urging the Federal Government to focus on policies that will stimulate faster economic growth.
Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Labour Force Statistics released for the third quarter of 2018 showed that the country’s unemployment rate rose from 18.8 percent in the third quarter of 2017 to 23.1 percent in the corresponding period of 2018.
The experts spoke against the backdrop of the huge number of applicants who recently applied for jobs in the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
According to Customs National Public Relations Officer, Joseph Attah, a total of 828,328 applications passed through the NCS recruitment portal before it closed on May 7.
Speaking in a chat with SHIPS & PORTS, the Secretary, Joint Action Front, a civil society group, Abiodun Aremu said the upsurge in the number of applicants was expected due to the high rate of unemployment in the country.
Aremu, who berated the government over the unemployment rate, said despite the sad development, Nigeria has continued to create more unemployment with overdependence on importation rather than focus on policies that would boost job creation.
He said, “For us at the Joint Action Front, we have always insisted on the need to change this system of exploitation. Nothing short of investment and control of the major productive forces of the country because when you are in control of your productive forces, importation will reduce. You will only need to import machinery that will boost production. For instance, we still rely on importing fuel, cars and foods. These are things that an economy that is geared towards national control of its productive forces would have resolved and the question of employment rush would have drastically reduced.
“Even the Customs job cannot be considered to be part of job that can boost productivity because you are talking about jobs that are based on taxes from an economy that is dependent on importation. So it is an indictment on the government that rather than boost job production, they are further undermining the economy.”
Also speaking, a financial expert and Managing Director, Cowry Asset Management, Johnson Chukwu attributed the high level of unemployment in the country to unfriendly policies of government, which have stifled the growth of the economy while the country’s population continues to grow.
He said with the increased level of youth unemployment in the country, the government must begin to focus on policies that will hasten economic development, noting that Nigeria still has the potential to grow with the right policies in place.
He said, “The statistics of applicants who applied for the Customs job point to the fact that we have a huge number of people who are graduates, who have the educational qualifications but with no jobs. It was not surprising because we have seen that happen before in immigration some years ago when there was a stampede at Abuja that led to loss of lives because young people were looking for employment.
“The key thing is that the economy is not expanding and creating jobs but the population is expanding at a faster level than the development of the economy. So it is a harbinger for increasing level of unemployment. So we expect the government to begin to focus on those policies that would meet the faster growth of the economy because I believe we still have the potential to grow with the right policies.
“The government should address the issue of infrastructure particular power and transport as well as improving on the ease of doing business.”