Declare emergency on unemployment, Senate tells FG, states, LGs

The Senate on Wednesday considered a motion on the ‘escalating rate’ of unemployment in the country, which was sponsored during plenary by the immediate past deputy president of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu.

In their resolution, the senators proffered solutions to the executive arm of the government for adoption and implementation.

One of the solutions proffered is for the Federal, State and Local Governments to declare emergency on the provision of employment across the country.

The senators also called on the Federal Ministry of National Planning to put the necessary mechanism and programmes in place to achieve this.

They proposed the revitalisation of existing industries and urged the executive arm to initiate sustainable employment fund for the payment of stipends to unemployed Nigerians until such persons secure employment.

Earlier, Senator Ekweremadu brought the motion to the floor through reliance on Orders 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Rules.

He decried that high institutions of learning in the country produce a large number of graduates yearly without jobs, describing such a situation as a “time bomb waiting to explode”.

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Citing a report published by the National Bureau of Statistics in 2019, Senator Ekweremadu stated that Nigeria’s unemployment rate stood at 23.1 per cent of the workforce in the third quarter of the year.

He also raised an alarm that the nation’s unemployment rate would hit 33.5 per cent by 2020 while quoting the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige.

“Any nation with such a number of unemployed but employable youths is only sitting on a keg of gun powder.

“The most pressing demand on the hand of every legislator and public officer is the rising number of curriculum vitae and application for employment from constituent Nigerians,” the lawmaker said.

He added, “A situation where every school graduate has to queue up for job only in government offices is an indication of the breakdown of private sector which is the major driver of world economies.”

Senator Ekweremadu stressed that unemployed Nigerian youths with potential talents “lying idle and wasting away are usually misdirected toward many unprofitable and harmful ventures and lifestyles”.

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According to him, the most active percentage of Nigeria’s population has been forced to keep away from participating in the economic development of their fatherland and contributing toward the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by unemployment.

The lawmaker also attributed the high level of crime in any society to the high rate of unemployment.

He said, “Unemployment is one of the major causes of upsurge in rural-urban migration which put pressure on facilities at the urban centres.

“Unemployment is one of the major reasons why insurgency, kidnapping, armed robbery, Cybercrimes and other vices are on the increase.”

In his contribution, Senator Istifanus Gyang described unemployment as a monster that could consume the nation if its people were not careful.

Senator Olubunmi Adetumbi, on his part, decried the inability of the private sector to address the escalating rate of unemployment in the country.

The government on the other hand, according to him, lacks the capacity to create jobs as doing so would create an expansion in its fiscal responsibility.

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