Beneath Nigeria’s unending unemployment crisis lies typical corruption: the incessant decline of civic virtue particularly among Nigeria’s political and economic elite which has become intrinsic. Generally, in recent decades, many nations have been confronted with tough economic challenges leading to increased unemployment; however, Nigeria’s ‘economic crisis profile’ is noticeably different in many ways among other nations since it’s tightly married to incompetence, corruption and thorough mismanagement over the decades. Interestingly, every administration comes with its own ‘economic growth blueprint’ but none has been practically successful even though they appear fine on graphs. This failure is so severe that it has attracted several local and international economic diagnoses, as well as commentaries and solutions proffered by independent and government hired economists among others, but the solutions remain insufficient to revolutionize Nigeria from deep economic mess, such that will practically reduce unemployment and the ever peaking inflation. More and more confusion is obtainable in this sector and not until a veritable ethos of social responsibility is restored can there be a meaningful and sustained economic recovery in Nigeria.
Frankly assessing this issue, to an extent, it’s not difficult to agree with Michael Bolarinwa’s assertion that “the severity and the depth of unemployment in Nigeria have been alarming and of great concern to government and the general public”. Meanwhile, the fact that it’s of great concern to the government is apparently not true because records show that government’s inability and realistic failure remain the biggest threat to job creation in Nigeria. For example, the failure of the Goodluck-led administration in creating jobs is not difficult to notice; since the start of his administration, sufficient mismanagement of public funds and statistical lies about unemployment are the realities produced- as several young Nigerians pour out of universities without jobs. Of course, a nation’s economy is essentially not a family business which doesn’t require public reflection in the realm of economic development- running Nigeria’s economy as a family affair by the political and economic elite isn’t only conceptually immoral and unjust, it leads to mass suffering and aggression, as evident in the nation. A National Bureau of Statistic survey has revealed that the unemployment situation was worsening, yes! However, this is expected of a weak leadership system which has consciously prioritize unintelligent and self enriching economic policies by refusing to grow. Provoking acts such as enrollment of ghost workers on government pay list, low income and heavy taxation, corruption such embezzlement of workers’ salaries and pension funds, degenerating infrastructure, weak education system e.t.c. are some of the causes of unemployment in Nigeria identified by economists.
During an economic crisis, any reasonable national government should genuinely search for policy actions that can quickly deal with rising unemployment and declining output. Also sincere, visible and essential infrastructure investments are identified as key tools in the economic and policy debate to fight unemployment - in the case of Nigeria, where many small scale businesses have been frustrated to shut down because of poor electricity supply; businesses generate power themselves on high cost. Infrastructure development is key because of the direct and short-term labour effects on sectors that have been greatly affected by our economic crisis. Furthermore, construction of network based infrastructure, such as good transportation routes and broadband networks carry substantial spillovers in terms of improving efficiencies and stimulating innovation in the production sector of any national economy; this explains why several governments such as United States, Germany, Australia among others have decided to increase their investment in infrastructure, such as the construction of roads, bridges, power and telecommunications.
Currently, unemployment in Nigeria among other economic issues is highly discouraging and it has led to other social vices as well as increased poverty level, psychological injury as result of the breakdown in social contacts and isolation from the world of work, loss of responsibility, identity and respect which the position at work ensures, loss of purchasing power, etc. The causes are not far fetched as clearly stated; however, if the government remains weak and inactive on matters that matter such as growing unemployment, it exposes our nationhood to more dangers that will be added to the existing ones. Essentially, people have to survive, and their survival is based on economic engagement in the society, the onus of creating opportunities for citizens to contribute to the economy while they make a living lies on the government- policies and reforms must favour masses engagement in the economy. Beyond painted economic graphs displayed as blueprints by unpopular economists hired by the government, government lies about figures, playing with the masses emotions with ephemeral ideas and empty statistics- government should be thoughtful enough to put in place relevant measures that will reduce unemployment to the minimum at the shortest delay, importantly, as a way to reduce social vices in Nigeria.
Rotimi Ogungbola is a a Post Graduate Student at the Department of Religions, University of Ilorin.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters