Six (6) Reasons for High Unemployment Rate in Nigeria


INTRO: Unemployment has been a recurrent issue in the Nigerian economic discussion due to the alarming percentage of the unemployed in the country. Report by the Bureau of Statistics has it that 38% of the population of Nigeria that falls within the employable age are unemployed and 65% of Nigerian youth face unemployment as at September 2016. Simply put, unemployment could be seen as the  condition of people who are without jobs. It is what exists when members of the labour force are fit and wish to work but cannot get jobs.

Unemployment has different forms such as Frictional Unemployment (a short period between ones old job and the new one), Structural Unemployment ( a mismatch between skill and vacancy), Cyclical/Seasonal Unemployment (employment pattern that follows the rise and fall in demand and supply of the products and services of the recruiting industries due to season or economic dynamics), Technological Unemployment (replacing men with machines), and Chronic Unemployment (a long term unemployment). Nigeria suffers from chronic unemployment, and several reasons such as below are responsible for the ugly condition:

1) Corruption: This is a canker-worm that has eaten deep into the fabrics of Nigeria's status as a country because it frustrates the country from meeting its litany of responsibilities to the citizenry. Described as the use of public office for private gains, corruption has been rocking the Nigeria's ship of progress right from the colonial days. It involves giving and taking of bribes, siphoning of public treasury and violation of due process. Corruption accounts for an army of problems facing Nigeria today including unemployment. It has carted away public funds that could have been used to build industries for job and wealth creation. One out of the huge list of corruption cases in Nigeria was the missing $20 billion at Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as revealed by the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Alhaji Lamido Sanusi Lamido.

2) Overpopulation: The rate of population growth in Nigeria is faster than the resources can provide for. The situation has been described as an elephant in a room. According to reports in Nigeria Health Watch, in 2015, the estimated number of people in Nigeria had grown to 182.2 million, a 300% increase in 56 years. Nigeria is estimated to be the third most populous country in the world by 2050 with a population of 399 million people. Absorbing the gargantuan and still counting population in a meaningful employment in order to achieve full employment level of unemployment is more or less impossible.

3) Monocultural Economy: Since Oil Boom, the oil sector of Nigeria's economy accounted for the 95% of the country's export earnings and 70% of the government's revenue. By implication, other productive sectors of the economy are left behind in mad chase of petro-dollar which ties the fate of the country firmly to the vagaries of the international oil market. Among other things, the resultant unemployment situation arising from the repudiation of other productive sectors of the economy due to Oil Boom in Nigeria has pushed scholars and analysts to describe the Oil Boom as a doom.

4) Poor System of Education: The design of Nigeria's educational system is largely theoretical than practical for skill acquisition; less qualified teachers are recruited due to corruption, and worst still is the lack of facilities for teaching and learning. This kangaroo system has consistently produced "half-baked" graduates with little or no skill to offer the society, but to end up roaming the streets not only as unemployed but also as unemployable.

5) Energy Problem: Power supply in Nigeria has been said to be more epileptic than epilepsy itself. Often times, it is doesn't show up at all talkless of being epileptic. This ugly condition has dissuaded industrialization, and by extension, employment generation. Few brave industries that weather the storm do so at very high cost which often makes them to downsize the labour in order to cut cost.

6) Orientation of the Society: The society has been keyed to believe that the road to success is getting education and then, white collar job. Going by this, graduates don't see opportunities in other places other than in "clean shirt" job positions. None of the graduates wants to be a farmer even when it is said that wealth is created from nature; an artisan even when it is known that  there is dignity in labour; or a small and medium scale merchant even when it is known as a gold mine.

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