Yearly, the number of graduates from higher institutions increases, many of whom hoped to get good jobs to cater to basic needs. The hopes of these noble graduates awaiting jobs are, however, not guaranteed, as many graduates have been disadvantaged due to lack of healthy and organised sectors to drive employment for economic growth.
The unemployment rate in Nigeria is alarming and has continued to worsen, especially with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, severely impacting its economy. A 2020 report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed that Nigeria’s unemployment rate had increased from 23.1% in 2018 to 33.3% in 2020. Comparatively, there is a 10% increase in the percentage of Nigerians that live without a job. This does not include the rate of underemployed Nigerians.
On the other hand, the World Bank had predicted that with the ongoing pandemic and its effect on the nation’s economy, the number of poor Nigerians is mostly likely to increase from about 90 million to about 200 million by 2022.
What are the government interventions so far?
Different administrations came up with various interventions to address the menace of unemployment. There is hardly any administration without various entrepreneurial programs and interventions to mitigate the unemployment rate in Nigeria. However, the impact of these programmes is questionable.
Some of the government programmes include:
Startup Nigeria (SN):
A 3-month incubation programme designed to support innovative ideas and companies across Nigeria with the necessary funding, mentoring and training. The programme is aimed at helping small companies grow and transforming ideas into actual products and services.
National Poverty Eradication Program:
Launched in 2001, the NPEP programme aimed at reducing poverty in the nation by replacing the previous Poverty Alleviation Programme. The programme entailed training youths on vocational skills, internship placements, micro-credit support etc.
Small and Medium Industries Equity Investment Scheme (SMIES):
SMIES is a voluntary initiative of the Bankers’ Committee and was launched in response to FG concerns about promoting Small and Medium Enterprises. The programme’s goal was to achieve rapid industrialisation, poverty reduction, economic development and the creation of employment.
Youth Entrepreneurship Support (YES):
The Youth Entrepreneurship Support (YES) Programme Is an initiative of the Bank Of Industry to address Nigeria’s youth unemployment rate by building the youths’ capacity and funding their business ideas. The YES also inculcates in youth, requisite skills and knowledge to be self-employed.
Social Intervention Fund (SIF):
The Fund is an initiative of Nigeria’s Federal Government to provide subsidised loans to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) with just 9% interest per annum.
This is a scheme set up by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2016 to address problems of high youth unemployment and as well increase social developments.
All these initiatives were launched to address the challenges of unemployment. However, the challenges associated with these initiatives include restriction to only small applicants and the existence of a political undertone in the initiatives, which makes them less enticing to youth’s interests.