Tackling Unemployment in Nigeria – The NDE Mandate

Since late 2014, unemployment in Nigeria has been on the rise and is at its highest level since 2009. This was majorly caused by the recession which shares same timeline with the declining rate of employment in the country. Unfortunately, the country still lacks industries and basic infrastructure which encourage a healthy economy so the question is; how do we get out of this conundrum using the resources we do have?

The Federal Government through the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) promised to begin the registration of unemployed Nigerians on the 5th of April through the online portal ‘www.jobsforall.ng’. The portal, according to the statements of Mr. Edmund Onwuliri will link job seekers to vacancies in the government and private sectors. The general aim of the portal is to “obtain and maintain a data bank on unemployment and vacancies in the country”. However, it seems the portal is still unavailable which is really disappointing. The idea itself is similar to that of ‘Jobberman’ so does not offer a true remedy for the rapid rising unemployment. It will be more rewarding to explore practical methods of avoiding and curtailing chronic unemployment.

Monetary policy is usually an effective solution and usually involves the increase in money supply to banks & the public and also the reduction in interest rates. This is expected to boost bank loans thereby increasing business output which ultimately depends on employment of workers. The Central Bank of Nigeria did say that such measures were taken in early 2016 when banks were given a trillion Naira to loan to agricultural businesses. Whether a trillion Naira given to all 22 Nigerian banks is enough loan for thousands of agricultural businesses in the country is debatable. It is no surprise this venture failed and CBN resorted to loaning out money directly to businesses through its Anchor Borrowing Programme. I believe in a country like Nigeria such policies will thrive where lending requirements are very lenient and widely advertised to attract businesses.

Reducing pressure on the private sector by spending more government money on infrastructure and basic amenities would encourage businesses to hire more people. However, if taxes are high and private-public business relations demand more monetary imput from the private party then employment rate is bound to decline. The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma stated that the FG does NOT plan on increasing taxes (good!). The 2017 budget plans to mobilise private resources with an expectancy of 900 billion Naira for housing alone while the government chips in 100 billion Naira. Hopefully, such pressure would increase employment, possibly with the projection of high profits but if losses are made we may be  back to square one.

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