The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed that no fewer than 5.3 million youths are jobless, while 1.8 million graduates enter the labour market every year. This figure could be a conservative estimate of the actual number of unemployed youths in the country, going by previous statistics released by NBS, which put the number of jobless Nigerians at 20.3 million.
The above is a reflection of previous governments’ inability to design policies that will create more jobs, or provide enabling environment that could encourage both individuals and the private sector to expand employment opportunities without let or hindrance.
It is in line with the above that the Osun State Government established an office known asOsun Job Centre. This is in pursuance of a key component of Governor Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola-led administration’s Six Point Integral Action Plan which is banishment of unemployment from the state. The Job Centre is established as a State Government-funded one-stop employment agency with desk offices located at each of the 30 local government areas.
The Centre will act as a facilitator between job seekers and employers by providing employment information and services to a wide range of people, from the unemployed looking for employment, the underemployed looking for better jobs, to employers advertising job openings. It is aimed at eradicating barriers to employment by promoting education, training and business enterprise. It will contribute to the personal development of the labour force through the creation of opportunities for their productive engagement and utilisation.
The centre provides employment service tools such as an infrastructure for the business community to post its skills needs as well as in-house computers with free access to the internet.
However, the private sector also has a role to play in creating employment, as experience has shown that government alone cannot provide all the needed jobs. Unemployed persons will also have to start working towards self-employment, through which they may even provide jobs for others.
Unemployment and poverty have become serious problems that all levels of government must tackle with sincerity of purpose to keep the nation’s youths productively engaged and out of avoidable trouble.
These efforts by Osun government are worthy of emulation by other states of the federation. Governor Aregbesola once declared that Osun, out of the 36 states, has the lowest rate of unemployed people, particularly among her teeming youths, due to the determination of his administration to banish poverty and unemployment among its people.
This new move at establishing a job centre is just one of them. These efforts were recently corroborated by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, when he declared that Osun is one of the states with lowest in poverty.
“The indication (in Osun) is that because there is a lot of investment on the people, poverty has been reduced and that is what we (the Federal Government) are trying to achieve in Nigeria,” Osinbajo said.
Aregbesola was quoted as saying: “The development of micro and small businesses forms a core component of our poverty alleviation and economic empowerment strategy.
“This is part of our six-point integral action plan that, among others, seeks to banish poverty, unemployment and hunger.
“We have designed programmes aimed at unlocking our people’s creativity and genuinely set them on the path of self-employment and self-reliance.
“I am certain that our people are hard-working and would at all time take pride in working to earn a decent living.
“With the numerous programmes we are implementing, we are on the road to change the fortune of our state and lives of our people for better.
“Many of these programmes such as OYES, O’REAP, O’YESTECH, O’MEALs, O’Schools, O’Beef and O’BOPS, among others, have offered many of our youths self-reliant job opportunities.”
- Ayo Akinola, is a publisher and media consultant based in Lagos and Bola Akande is a former commissioner for Human Resources and Capacity Building, Osun State