Job creation for full employment and increased gross domestic product, GDP is one of the policy directions of the APC controlled federal government. The 2016 budget proposals is replete with hope of reducing the socio-economic problems especially unemployment. Tackling the scourge of unemployment in a comatose economy unarguably imposes crucial obligations on the three tiers of government. Basic infrastructural facilities like roads, healthcare facilities, security and quality education/skill acquisition centres, etc. require top priority in the levels of government to register appreciable impact in job creation strategy.
If the federal government could route for strategic implementation of the budgetary provisions, the job creation proposals will assuage the deep yearnings and aspirations of the frustrated youths. The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Senator Dr. Chris Nwabueze Ngige is a round peg in a round hole going by his adroit strategies in articulating the ministry’s policies and programmes which have rekindled the hope of the unemployed youths.
The federal government’s commitments to better the welfare of the teeming unemployed youths has been unwavering and on course. According to the ebullient Labour Minister, arrangements are being made to employ Nigerian graduates with Bachelor of Education for a scheme termed “Teach Nigeria”. He said that part from those with Bachelor of Education, unemployed graduates from other disciplines, including law, history, physics and humanities among others would also be considered in the scheme after undergoing six months training in education.
The scheme would see the graduates collecting monthly stipends within the range of thirty thousand naira which is far beyond the five thousand naira stipend earlier promised by President Muhammadu Buhari to unemployed youths in the country. Making the employment proposals realistic, the federal government has to forge inter sector arrangements to tap into the resources of the MDA’s. To this end therefore, labour ministry has to collaborate with the federal ministry of agriculture and natural resources in training and empowering the youths in skill acquisition. The synergy is to enable Nigerians to explore the vast natural resources lying dormant in the all parts of the country by engaging the youths on their raw goods and services with a view to becoming self-reliant.
According to Senator Ngige, the labour ministry in line with its action plan would take census of all the skill acquisition centres in the country with a view to rehabilitating them to assist Nigerians reshape their mindset on white collar jobs. He said:” …the ministry had made frantic efforts in training and retraining entrepreneurs with various skills in the areas of blacksmithing, hair dressing, traditional tie and dye, welding, fabric weaving, bricklaying, among others, using locally made machines and raw materials such as palm oil/kernel etc.”
Speaking on the occasion of the National Directorate of Employment, NDE special day at the 27th Enugu International Trade Fair, the Minister of Labour and Productivity noted that “the NDE established by legislation as one of the parastatals in the ministry was charged with the responsibility to provide employment to job seekers and assist them to embark on Small Scale and Medium Enterprises.” It is interesting to note that agricultural resources abide in the six geo-political zones which if adroitly harnessed can provide vast opportunities to reduce the scourge of employment and under-employment. However, it needs the synergy of all the levels of government in realistic planning and implementation of the respective annual budgets. The cooperation of the state governments is a desideratum to achieve the lofty aims and objectives in the federal government’s budget.
The Labour Minister contended that the Federal Government will not compromise its resolve to enforce the existing laws barring the importation of certain goods into the country adding that the policy direction will stimulate increased and improved agricultural production that will lead to job creation and national food security.Speaking during the visit of the United Arab Emirate, UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, Mahmood Almahmood on the death of the Minister of State for Labour and productivity, Barr. James Ocholi, the labour minister said that the country would build on the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to the UAE to activate the process of legal migration of skilled Nigerian middle level workers into the country under the International Labour Migration guidelines. He said: “ In consonance with the spirit of the relationship which exists between our two countries, and which President Muhammadu Buhari has further bolstered with his recent visit to the United Arab Emirate and considering the series of agreement signed in the areas of trade, economic development, investment and industry as well as in legal cooperation among others, my ministry wishes to request that you activate the process of labour migration and employment into the UAE for skilled Nigerian workers”. He said that it is the desire of the federal government to export skilled middle level workers, whether they are carpenters, bricklayers, tillers, painters etc. “We want to export them officially under the International Labour Migration Organization guidelines just like we are trying to do with Qatar. No doubt, we have high skilled Nigerian professionals like engineers, medical doctors, nurses and others already in your country but we want to push people from the middle cadres who have blue collar skills.”
Happily, the UAE Ambassador assured the cooperation of his country in the promotion of trade and other bilateral relations with Nigeria. Such realistic bilateral relations are what the country needs to tackle the multifarious socio-economic challenges that have apparently placed the country at the brink of a failed state.
To be realistic and forthright, the country has to be restructured to reinvent True Federalism which is the only option to have all-inclusive growth and development in real terms. Impressive as the 2016 budget is, it is likely to register marginal impact on the comatose economy and welfare of the masses. This is due to the over-centralization in pseudo federalism which makes a return to True Federalism a categorical imperative.
In restructuring the country, Federal MDA’s like have to be abolished and the staffs transferred to their respective state governments for absorption. For instant, the federal government has no need operating MDA’s like agriculture and water resources, health, industry and commerce, education, FRSC, prisons etc. To this end therefore, new revenue allocation has to be put in place pending the full True Federalism which is near to the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference.
For instance, in the centralized federal practice, there is no amount of security summits that will guarantee maximum security in Nigeria until state police is put in place to check kidnapping, armed robbery, religious extremism and gross impunity/mindless slaughtering of southerners by confirmed terrorists masquerading as Fulani herdsmen.
The centralized federal practice has covertly sanctioned discriminatory application of laws by the security operatives who allow the Fulani bloodhounds to go scot-free in addition to the free-wheeling operation of the Islamic police [Hisba] in the northern states whilenorthern Moslems stoutly reject state police is a time bomb waiting to explode with disastrous consequences.
- Onwubiko, a commentator on national issues, wrote in via email@example.com from Awka, Anambra State.