ILO advocates relevant skills for youths to tackle unemployment
For the African continent to surmount unemployment challenge, its education policy must prioritise offering skills that are relevant to the industrialisation needs of the continent, Director General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Guy Ryder has said.
Meanwhile there are indications that the immediate past Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige is likely to stage a comeback to the ministry when portfolios are allocated to Ministerial nominees.
Speaking in Abuja at the Global Youth Employment Forum, which Nigeria hosted, the Director-General of ILO, Guy Ryder, said every Nigerian Minister of Labour he has met always stressed the need for the creation of jobs for youths.
He explained that creating jobs for Nigerian youths would not happen until the skills youths imbibe in school are of top quality through quality education that dovetails into industry needs.
Ryder, who is the first Director-General of the ILO to visit post-independent Nigeria, paid glowing tributes to the resilience and doggedness of Nigerians across the world.
His words: “I want to say that all of us who visit your country (Nigeria) are aware of the talent and vibrancy of your people. We see them across the world in all sectors. So, we know very well the quality and talent of the people of Nigeria. I am proud to be the first serving Director-General of our organisation to visit the independent Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Ryder submitted that undoubtedly the future of work might be bleak due to an army of young people that are not in work and not in any form of training institution, adding that around 255 million young persons are jobless.
If the situation of young men is dire, he said the situation young women found themselves is even more calamitous.
“So, we must ask ourselves, what is their future going to be? Are they included in our labour market or excluded? With young people more likely to be unemployed than adults, even when they can find a place of work, they can be in an extremely difficult condition, which sometimes falls short of ILO’s ambition of decent work for all,” he lamented.
The ILO chief stated that while 136 million young people are said to be employed on the continent, they still live in poverty.
While he did not make a declaration that the Africa continent is not doing enough to tackle poverty and unemployment, Ryder stated that the continent must do more to reduce poverty in order to meet the targets set by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
He added: “These are the working poor and in Africa, that is the status of 60 percent of young workers, often concentrated in conditions of informalities and in rural economies. Whether we like it or not, these are our global realities and that was the reality the international community set for itself when in 2015, the UN 2030 agenda for sustainable development. The commitment then was to leave nobody behind and that includes the goal of inclusive growth and decent work for everybody, including youths. Last month, the UN took stock of the progress we have made so far in delivering on this agenda and the news is that we are way off track. The message here therefore is that we have to do more and better. That is why we are here in Abuja.”
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari believes that Dr Ngige has unfinished business in the ministry of Labour and Employment in view of outstanding issues dogging the implementation of the minimum wage.
The Guardian gathered in Abuja that though the President desires that Dr Ngige goes to the Ministry of Health, the inability of the Federal Government to reach an agreement with labour over consequential adjustment in wages for federal civil service may sway the re-appointment of Dr Ngige to finish all negotiations that relate to the new minimum wage.
The Guardian was told that Dr Ngige, who attended the Global Youth Employment Forum in Abuja in his capacity as a former Labour Minister, did not remove his personal effects from the office of the Minister of Labour and Employment located in the federal secretariat Abuja.