Stakeholders urge government to declare state of emergency on unemployment
Stakeholders have called on the government to declare a state of emergency on job creation in Nigeria.
They argued that with the current rate of unemployment, there was a need for the public and private sector to team up to address the challenge.
Director-General of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Dr. Timothy Olawale, who spoke on the recent protests by the youth, maintained that the agitation should spur government at all levels to be more proactive, transparent, and focused on meeting the expectations of the citizens.
For the young agitators, he advised them to be actively involved in partisan politics as that would help them to meet their objectives.
He said the agitation was quite expected as the economic downturn was enough to precipitate such a reaction.
According to him, more efforts must be channeled to fast-track economic revival, starting with support for the real sector.
The NECA boss pointed out that efforts must be made in collaboration with the private sector to create jobs that would get the youths off the streets and rechannel their energies towards national development.
Reacting to President Muhammadu Buhari’s national broadcast, he said the government needs to show commitment to addressing the youth’s demands through short, medium, and long-term strategies.
He said the government’s commitment must include strengthening institutions that have been created to render services to the people, quick and transparent implementation of announced initiatives, and persecution of government officials who have abused power.
He said there should be a reduction in the cost of governance and that funds should be deployed to key areas such as education, health, and infrastructure to drive economic growth.
Similarly, a lawyer and labour expert, Paul Omoijiade, said what the country needed was “guerrilla warfare”. He said the government needed intellectual capacity to deal with the problem and the issues tabled.
He said all facets of the economy including the judiciary needed reform and that they must be looked into critically.
He maintained that most of the demands from the youth could not be met without a legislative intervention, which may require some time.
However, he said the government can have quick wins to meet some of their demands through palliatives, reduction in prices of goods and commodities, reduction in fuel price, and constant electricity.
He said: “Since the government has refused to provide jobs, they can see the damage they have done to the economy as the youths have taken to the streets. There is a need for constitutional amendments and review. The justice sector is critical because where there is no justice, there can never be peace. There is a need to reinvigorate artisans and provide training for them to hone their skills. The agriculture sector should also be looked into. These will make the youths leave the streets and be gainfully employed. Youths need to exercise some restraint.”