Ngige Blames Increased Youth Unemployment On Economic Recession

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, says the economic recession which Nigeria experienced in 2008 is responsible for the rising rate of youth unemployment.

He noted that although the N-power programme has recorded some success, the Federal Government is yet to achieve its target of reducing unemployment in Nigeria.

Ngige disclosed this on Tuesday during the sixth Africa Social Partners summit hosted by the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), in Lagos.

“So, we have used this (N-power scheme) and drastically reduced youth unemployment but we have not gotten to our target because most African government, Nigeria inclusive, we have some bad effects of the recession that started since 2008.

“That recession may have cleared *sic* in Europe and other climes, but in Africa, the effect of the recession still abound.

“Nigeria is a country that is dependent on oil revenue. It is of late that the government of Muhammadu Buhari started a diversification programme by which we now have other things to export,” the Minister said.

Also at the event, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and its social partners offered an insight into how African countries can reduce rising unemployment rate, especially among the youth population.

The director-general of the NECA, Timothy Olawale, warned that Africa could be sitting on a time bomb unless drastic measures were taken to address increased youth unemployment on the continent.

He believes that industries will thrive if the political space allows for job creation by putting in place policies that will be favourable for employers.

He further analysed that there will be less crime and social peace in Africa if there are more jobs as economic growth creates jobs.

According to the Blueprint for Jobs in Africa which was adopted by the social partners in December 2015 in Casablanca, 63 per cent of the African population is less than 25 years old.

The Blueprint further showed that every month, at least one million young people on the continent enter the job market. And out of about 73 million jobs created on the continent in the past few years, only about 16 million jobs were grabbed by the youth population of Africa which is put at over 200 million people.

At the summit, the ILO submitted that the number of productive jobs in Africa would have to increase by over 300 million or some 26 million per year, more than doubling the number of existing productive jobs to reach 579 million by 2030.

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