Lauding creation of jobs as Buhari’s priority
Sir: The statement credited to Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s President to the effect that his priority in his second term in office is to create jobs, jobs and jobs for the teeming unemployed Nigerians. The President was speaking to representatives of National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring workers led by its President, John Adaji in Abuja. It is true that Buhari has ably demonstrated his commitment to creating jobs for Nigerians in his first term in office by deploying resources into agriculture, infrastructural development, mining and job creation through SIP, school feeding programme, employment into the public services like the paramilitary/security/ armed forces among others.
It is not out of place for Buhari to mention his lament for a rise of crimes in the North in particular and the country in general largely due to closure of Ginnery and Textile factories in Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Gusau, Funtua among others. It is on record that in line with his unflinching commitment to change the narratives of rising unemployment in the country, Buhari has put in place policies that support and promote local industries. The unemployed in the country cut across educated and uneducated, skilled and unskilled persons.
Such include import restrictions, programmes that offer affordable and accessible capital to both large and cottage industries. In the 70s, 80s and early 90s, the textile industry in these towns have offered employment opportunities to hundreds “of thousands of Nigerians and made the economy to be very active.
The Nigerian textile industry which is a goldmine and was once a vibrant sector of the Nigerian economy, is gradually grinding to a halt. Despite government promises to revitalise the sector that holds numerous potentials for the economy, not much has happened.
In any developed or developing economy, the indices used in judging growth is primarily based on the producing power of that country. Industries form the bulk of these indices. In Nigeria for instance, more than 80 per cent of all finished consumer products are imported. Nigeria needs more than N1 trillion to revitalise the ailing textiles industry of more than 400 medium and large scale firms now in commatose and about 150 partially active.
One needs to remind Nigerians of the unique but effective approach adopted by Buhari in businesses thriving free of any encumbrances by way of introducing executive orders for the procurement of made in Nigeria goods. It is a policy from the heart of the President. It is not in doubt that unemployment has resulted in youth to particularly roam the streets of our towns and villages while some indulge in robbery, kidnapping, drug abuse, crimes like yahoo yahoo and other vices.
For me, Buhari has done very well in addressing the unemployment time bomb issue in his first term in office. What remains to be done in this second and last term in office is to enhance his achievements.
Musa Ilallah wrote from Abuja.