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NECA decries unemployment rate as fair absorbs youths

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The Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), has condemned the spate of unemployment in the country, saying the menace has worsened as some of the graduates churned out by Nigerian universities are not employable.Indeed, quarterly reports on job creation and unemployment prepared by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) have not been made available to the public for a long time now, contrary to previous practice.

This has fuelled concerns that the Federal Government may have withheld the data to avoid criticism. Experts suspect that the reports were not released because the rate of joblessness in the country has risen above 40 percent.The Federal Government, through the NBS, saddled with the responsibility of releasing data for different sectors of the economy, released the last unemployment data and job creation report in the third quarter of 2018, which put the country’s unemployment figure at about 23.1 percent.

With 20.9 million people unemployed at the end of the third quarter of 2018, the Bureau stated that the economically active or working age population (15 – 64 years) increased from 111.1 million in Q3 of 2017 to 115.5million in Q3 of 2018. Of the 20.9 million persons classified as unemployed as at Q3 2018, 11.1 million did some form of work but for too few hours a week (under 20 hours) to be officially classified as employed, while 9.7 million did absolutely nothing.

Speaking at the maiden edition of its Job Fair, in Lagos, President of NECA, Taiwo Adeniyi, said there is a lingering dearth of unemployable graduates in Nigeria, adding that the fair could be the solution the country needs to solve the perennial youth unemployment problem.He said: “The case on our hand is not that we do not have graduates, but they are not employable. For example in my place, we have a space that we have been looking for a replacement for the past two and a half years.”

The programme, themed, “Promoting Employability for National Development,” was launched last week, in Lagos, in partnership with over 24 companies willing to absorb over 2,000 youths that attended the fair, if they met the standard.He said the Association wants to bridge the gap between the companies and youths, as well as enhance the employability of graduates.

Human Resource Director, TGI Group, Tominiyi Oni, who spoke on the theme of the fair, charged youths to do several things that could make it easier for them to get their first job, which cut across identifying their purpose, being focused, truthfulness, being ready to sacrifice, and being data savvy, among others.He said organisations would rather employ fresh job seekers who have leadership skills as compared to level of experience usually sought for in job advertorials.

Director-General, NECA, Timothy Olawale, in his opening address, expressed the employer’s concern about the number of youths being churned our every year without jobs due to no fault of theirs.He said the case was more complex when a graduate has to resort to menial jobs like selling snacks or biscuits in a little kiosk, wondering what the future holds for such graduates.

He said: “We have to show concern and that is why in the past we started a project with Industrial Training Fund (ITF) for graduates to help themselves. We also have another entrepreneurship programme through the Internet.”

“The sad aspect of our educational system is when a graduate is not employable. The project is to help in that way and provide youths with the opportunity to interface with companies.”He explained that youths at the fair would have the opportunity of career consulting on how to develop their CV and be in the database of the companies.Olawale also said that NECA would look at the option of bringing in their international partners who may be ready to absorb some of the youths for their organisations.

“This will be one of the opportunities that we will explore at the next International Labour Conference organised by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva, Switzerland,” he said.He reasoned that Europe is challenged with aging population and it may be a good opportunity for them to get good hands from Nigeria, adding that NECA would invite the ILO to come to the country for the programme.


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NECATimothy Olawale
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