I am persuaded to think and say that the above question has disturbed and is still disturbing the minds of a great number of people within and outside the shores of Nigeria. On this assertion, there is little doubt that it is true. Unemployment, according to my weird definition, is a reality that begins to exist when jobs are no longer created. And for this to happen, the human mind must have previously ceased to generate bankable ideas.
In other words, it is a real situation which comes into existence the very minute bankable ideas on how or what to do to solve one human need or the other are not conceived anymore. It is a known fact that every government agency, business empire or technological approach that once solved or is still solving the needs of mankind started with an idea which was conceived on a fertile human mind, believed and acted upon immediately. And if this is generally accepted, it translates then, to the fact that unemployment can only happen when ideas or solutions to a human problem are no longer conceived or believed.
The question nagging for an answer then is, are there no longer human wants to be solved? Or is the mind of the average Nigerian no longer capable of conceiving bankable ideas that can create career opportunities? Or is it government’s laziness, lack of technology, electricity, raw materials or even lack of needed capital? If there are still human wants, why is unemployment statistically rife? Or are the stats lying?
Human wants have never needed more urgent solutions in any civilization than it is happening in our days and bankable ideas that can create possible solutions as well as career opportunities have not been more forthcoming in any age than in the present age. The trouble is not even with contemporary civilization which has done more to turn ideas into realities than any other civilization ever did. It is neither a lack of raw materials, electricity or needed technology.
What the high rate of unemployment in the country today truly depicts is that the federal, state and local governments as well as the private sector lack the will-power to continue to initiate ideas that are capable of providing solution to the numerous human wants of contemporary existence while providing employment for the unemployed, in the process. As the APC-led government boasts about lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty; it is necessary they understand what job creation required.
Since 2015, Nigeria has witnessed an onslaught against business establishments, underfunding of relevant government agencies responsible for the salaries of many and stringent multiple tax regimes that has compounded the dilemma of the average Nigerian of productive age. On February 1, 2020, the implementation of the new VAT of 7.5 per cent commenced and, you get the impression that even though government wanted to create jobs, its policies are destroying the existing ones.
Would it not have made sense if more jobs were created instead of increasing the VAT? This is the reason I urge that government needs to first understand what unemployment was in order to know what job creation entails. A few years ago, following the inability of the Nigeria Telecommunication (NITEL) to generate returns on investment for government, there became the need to liberalize that sector.
- Comrade Ifeanyichukwu Mmoh, Abuja.