• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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BusinessDay

Declare state of emergency on unemployment now, Senate Tells Buhari

Senate moves to amend PSC Act, probe N7trn FG’s oil revenue loss 20 years after

Disturbed by the escalating rate of unemployment in the country, the Senate on Wednesday said the time was ripe for President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently declare a state of emergency to end the challenge of joblessness faced by Nigerian graduates.

The Senate asked the government to initiate a sustainable Unemployment Fund for the payment of living stipends to unemployed Nigerians until such persons secure any kind of employment.

Although this is certainly not the first time the Senate would be urging Buhari to end unemployment, unfortunately, it is not clear if the federal government is fully committed to truthfully addressing the unemployment crisis.

The unemployment rate in Nigeria stood at 23.1 percent as at the end of the third quarter of 2018, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

The Upper Chamber noted that the high level of criminality and rural-urban migration in the country were majorly caused by unemployment.

Specifically, the Senate blamed the federal, state and local governments for not doing enough to provide adequate jobs to the teeming population of unemployed persons.

Also, it noted that critical sectors such as agriculture, tourism and vocational education, among others, that if at all were made viable should have created abundant jobs, had not been revitalised.

The motion on the escalation of unemployment challenge was moved by Senator Ike Ekweremadu.

Senators during plenary took turns to make contributions on the matter. They unequivocally said government was ineptitude and that it lacked the political will to tackle the employment challenge.

According to Ekweremadu, any nation with such a worrying number of unemployed but employable youth population is only sitting on a keg of gunpowder.

In his motion, Ekweremadu declared that “Perturbed that the most pressing demand on the hand of every legislator and public officer is the rising number of Curriculum Vitae and application for employments from constituents and Nigerians;

“Convinced that a situation where every graduate has to queue up for a job only in government offices is an indication of the breakdown of the private sector, which is the major driver of world economies;

“Worried that these energies and potential talents that are lying idle and wasting away are usually misdirected toward many unprofitable and harmful ventures and lifestyles.

“Further worried that the most active percentage of the nation’s population is forcefully caged by unemployment from participating in the economic development of fatherland and from contributing toward the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)”

“Aware that high level of crimes in any society are most times related to high rate of unemployment”.

For Senator Smart Adeyemi (Kogi West) the unemployment level in the country could not be eradicated till government especially states, initiated and set up functional small-scale industries.

To achieve this, Adeyemi urged banks and other relevant institutions to grant loan facilities to unemployed persons so as to make them self-reliant.

Supporting the motion, Senators Istafanus Gyang, Biodun Olujimi and Patrick Esenwa urged the federal government to focus more on revamping the agricultural, vocational education sectors, ensure functionality of skills acquisition centres and do away with the issue of age consideration by government agencies whenever employment windows are opened.

Consequently, the Senate urged the Federal Government, through the Ministry of National Planning, to quickly put up mechanisms and programmes that could provide employment.

Also, it called on governments at all levels to revitalise existing industries, build new ones, and provide a conducive and enabling environment for the private sector to build more industries.