‘Nigeria needs 11m jobs annually to tackle youth unemployment’
The Regional Coordinator, United Nations Environment Ecosystem Based Adaptation for Food Security Assembly (EBAFOSA), Dr Richard Munang, disclosed this at the UNEP-EBAFOSA Nigeria policy harmonisation meeting for implementing the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP), and Climate Action, held in Abuja.
He decried that Nigeria presently imports huge unemployment via unfriendly policies.
Speaking in the same vein, the President of EBAFOSA-Nigeria, Mr James Oyesola, also said the youths needed to be engaged now more than before amid rising unemployment.
He hinted that youth unemployment rate in Nigeria has steadily been on the increase rising from 9.8% in 2008, to about 13.41% in 2017.
Also quoting the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Oyesola pointed out that out of 85.08 million people in active labour force in Nigeria, 16 million were unemployed in one-third quarter of 2017.
Munang said the biggest problem Africa faces today, especially Nigeria, is youth unemployment, which requires about 11 million jobs every year to engage the unemployed youths.
Despite this reality, he regretted that Nigeria has continued to import more unemployment by importing mere tomato paste worth $360 million every year.
His words: “But at the same time, Nigeria is losing N9 billion every year as a result of post harvest loses. Nigeria is importing tomato worth $360 million every year. That means Nigeria is importing unemployment to add on top of unemployment that she got.”
On the importance of their engagement with other government Ministries, Agencies and Parastatals, the UNEP Regional Coordinator said: “The important of this policy harmonisation for climate action coordinated under the UN Environment framework for Ecosystem Based Adaptation for Food Security
Assembly is actually to help Nigeria implement its climate obligations in such a way that opportunities can be created for the youths.
“If you look at Nigeria today, Nigeria is losing food as a result of post harvest loses worth $9 billion every year. This is loss not just in food but also of incomes and opportunities especially for the youths; because as we are speaking today, Nigeria needs to create 11 million jobs every year to be able to absolve unemployed youths in the country.
“But the question is; where does these jobs come from? They can come as a result of expanding the entire Agro-value chain, which is the only area you can be able to create job opportunities for the youths.”
According to Mr. Oyesola Nigeria has about 98.3 million hectare arable land of which 72.2 million hectare is cultivable, which is about 23 per cent of arable land across all the West Africa.
He, however regretted that only 34.2 million hectare (48%) is cultivated.
He pointed out that despite all this, over 53 million (about 30 per cent of Nigerians remain undernourished and majority of Nigerians (65 per cent) remain food insecure.
Oyesola added: “About 72 per cent of Nigerians (118.2 million) are poor. The youth unemployment rate is on increase from 9.84 % in 2008 to about 13.41% in 2017 and in fact youths are needed to be engaged more than before.
“The active labour force is 85.08 million people in Nigeria and about 16 million people were unemployed in one third quarter of 2017 (Bureau of statistics).”