Is the high rate of joblessness among Nigerian youth population a consequence of the global unemployment crisis or an upshoot of a mismanaged economy and wrong approach to employment creation initiatives? Did the recession-hit global economy have a ricochet effect on the growing statistics of the unemployed in Nigeria?
The minister of Finance and co-ordinating minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala thinks that the job problem in the country is part of a worldwide unemployment crisis. The minister is wrong on this point.
The miserable job figures are peculiar to Nigeria alone. Unemployment problem in Nigeria precedes the current downturn. Low job statistics among Nigerian youths have been around since the inception of bad economic management. It has become endemic because the government has failed to create enabling environment for the private sector to generate job opportunities.
One does not also have to be an economist to know that the current situation is caused by incompetent leadership and corruption. But why do government officials including the minister think they can hoodwink us with annoying comparative justification of their failures?
The minister defended her analysis by quoting job figures from advanced economies. Reading her position correctly, she seemed to assert that if developed countries could suffer unemployment problem, then who are we to complain? This is really sad coming from someone occupying such a high position. This same argument was advanced by Okonjo-Iweala and government officials during the protest that followed the removal of fuel subsidy in January. During that period, they justified the withdrawal by comparing the high prices with what is obtained in non-oil producing countries.
Now, Madam Minister says the national unemployment level of 23 per cent and youth unemployment rising to 40 per cent are normal because other countries have the same problem…