The Senate on Wednesday urged the Federal Government to set up a sustainable unemployment fund for the payment of living stipends to jobless Nigerians until such persons secure any kind of employment.
The Senate also urged governments at all levels to declare emergency on the provision of employment to the youth of Nigeria.
The upper chamber further urged the Federal, State, and Local Governments to revitalise existing industries, build new ones, and provide conducive and enabling environment for the Private Sector to build more industries in the country.
Besides, it called on the government through the Ministry of National Planning, “to put up mechanisms and programmes that would provide employment for our teeming unemployed graduates/youth at all tier of government.”
These resolutions of the upper chamber followed the consideration of a motion titled: “Escalating rate of unemployment in the country” moved by a former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu.
Ekweremadu in his lead debate, urged his colleagues to be alarmed that the huge number of graduates being turned out annually by the nation’s tertiary institutions without requisite employment spaces to absolve them.
According to him, the ugly development represents a time bomb waiting to explode.
The Enugu West Senator noted that a report published by the National Bureau of Statistics in 2019 stated that Nigeria’s unemployment rate stood at 23.1 per cent of the workforce in the third quarter of 2019.
He lamented that according to a statement credited to the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Senator Chris Ngige, showed that Nigeria’s unemployment rate will hit 33.5 per cent by 2020.
He urged the upper chamber to be worried that “any nation with such number of unemployed, but employable youth population, is only sitting on a keg of gunpowder.”
He further called on his colleagues to be perturbed that the most pressing demand on the hand of every legislator and public officer in the country today is the rising number of Curriculum Vitae and application for employments from constituents and Nigerians.
He said that he is convinced that a situation where every graduate has to queue up for job only in government offices is an indication of the breakdown of the private sector, “which is the major driver of world economies.”
The Senator lamented that the energies and potential talents of youths that are lying idle and wasting away are usually misdirected toward many unprofitable and harmful ventures and lifestyles.
He further averred that the most active percentage of the nation’s population is forcefully caged by unemployment “from participating in the economic development of fatherland and from contributing toward the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“Aware that high level of crimes in any society are most times related to high rate of unemployment.
“That unemployment is one of the major causes of the upsurge in Rural-Urban migration, which puts pressure on facilities at the urban centers.
“That unemployment is one of the major reasons insurgency, kidnaping, armed robbery, cybercrimes and other vices are on the increase.”
Ekweremadu recalled that various intervention programmes by successive governments targeted at “reducing youth unemployment and eradicating its co-traveler, poverty, have not yielded the desired results.”
In his contribution, Senator Istifanus Gyang (PDP, Plateau North), described unemployment as “a monster that, if we (Nigerians) are not careful, can consume us as a nation.”
On his part, Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi (APC, Ekiti North) decried the inability of the private sector to address the escalating rate of unemployed persons in the country.
He argued that the government lacks the capacity to create jobs, “as doing so would create an expansion in the fiscal responsibility of government.”