The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, last week, came up with excuses on why Nigeria was still bedevilled with high unemployment rate amidst Federal Government’s efforts at reducing it.
Varied reactions have trailed Osinbajo’s excuses, and questioned the sincerity of the government on its initial campaign promise of tackling the unemployment menace.
We also tracked two other stories for your reading pleasure.
Seeing through Osinbajo’s excuses
On November 9, Osinbajo blamed rising population as the prime reason for high unemployment in the country.
Speaking in Lagos, the Vice President had said, among others: “The population growth rate consistently exceeds the capacity of the economy to produce sufficient jobs.”
As tenable as Osinbajo’s excuses are, it is clear that he had chosen the path of least resistance in finding justification for government failures in keeping its citizens productive.
The pertinent question raised by his submission, and which he must find answers to, is whose responsibility it is to initiate policies and programmes that would keep rising populations in check. The answer is not farfetched.
Indeed, the administration’s poor handling of the economy is glaring, and its failures are exceedingly manifest not only in high unemployment rates but also high prices of almost every commodity in the market, making the economy harsh for everyone.
The stats, as a result, do not look enviable. Nigeria is ranked as country with the second highest number of unemployed people in the world, while the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) says 33.3% of Nigerians are unemployed. This amounts to a staggering 23.2 million people.
The Vice President must appreciate, therefore, that the performance of the administration is an open book for anyone to read. Population explosion is only but one of the many reasons choking the country’s unemployment space.
Two other talking points
Reaping from others’ successes
President Buhari, on November 12, lauded the resourcefulness and resilience of Nigerians.
Speaking on the side-lines of the Paris Peace Forum (PPF), in France, he said: “Nigerians are all over the place, very competitive. And the competitiveness starts from home, where they have acquired good education, gone into business, and then take all that abroad.”
It is interesting to see President Buhari holding forth as a quintessential salesman for his country, contrary to some previous outings where he had blundered irredeemably.
Strangely, Mr President looks to be taking credit for what his administration hardly worked for. This is against the background of poor funding for education as evidenced in various budgets, and the general disdain for teachers, leading to several nationwide strikes by academic associations.
Perhaps, it is time to commit more to the education sector even as Nigerians excel all over the globe, most times on personal efforts.
Chest-thumping on infrastructure deficits
On November 11, President Buhari highlighted the importance of infrastructure development, and its impact on human progress.
The President spoke while in France, saying: “We are struggling very hard on infrastructure because there can’t be sustainable development without it. Considering the vastness of our country, we need roads, rail, power, airports, housing, and that is what we have engaged ourselves with in the past six years.
“And our people are seeing the new developments. Relative to the resources available to us, we have not done badly. When infrastructure is in place, our people can look after themselves.”
No doubt, the Buhari administration can point to a sprinkle of efforts it is making to develop Nigeria’s decaying infrastructure across different sectors. Whether these are deserving of self adulation is a separate kettle of fish, and this is because the people are better placed to score the regime’s performance.
A major concern for most people is the seeming disconnect between the colossal amounts of money borrowed to execute these projects and the final outcomes.
More importantly, it is high time the government moderated its trumpeting activities, as the realities do not support the chest-thumping often displayed by the President’s aides.
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