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Tackling poverty through meaningful, sustainable job creation in Nigeria

CBN Governor, EmefieleCBN Governor, Emefiele – Job Creation is the notion that jobs are created in response to some sort of

event or situation, for example; great depression – an economic slump (a period of poor performance or inactivity in an economy, market or industry, a recession, signaling a slowdown of business activity) or high level of mass unemployment.  Conceptually, job creation is the proactive opposite of mass unemployment.  In a practical sense, organization or industry only hires more workers when necessary to satisfy demand for its products or services.  Therefore, industrial or manufacturing based organizations (even poverty industry or poverty businesses, which constitute the National economy) are very crucial in the Nation to achieve meaningful and sustainable job creation.   In the developing world, improved jobs and livelihoods are an indispensable means to eradicate poverty and establish a virtuous circle of expanding and inclusive economic growth.  Inclusive economic growth, if sustained over time, is the only way to tackle poverty across the Nation.  Destitution or absolute poverty is obvious in the Nation and it is caused by the deprivation of basic human needs, which commonly includes money, food, water, sanitation, clothing, shelter and healthcare among others, and it can be reduced through meaningful and sustainable job creation.  Good governance and enabling environment for social and economic developments are critical in promoting and sustaining meaningful job creation in the Nation.  In other words, poor governance and unenabled environment create and promote unemployment, insecurity, retard social and economic developments. 

Good governance, as mentioned describes how public institutions conduct public affairs and manage public resources.  Governance is the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented.  The term governance can apply to corporate governance, international governance, national governance, local governance or to the interactions between other sectors of society.  The concept of good governance often emerges as a model to compare ineffective economies or political bodies with viable economies and political bodies, especially; those in Europe and the Americas.  The concept centers on the responsibility of governments and governing bodies to meet the needs of the masses as opposed to selected groups in society.  Most countries often described as successful are Western liberal democratic states that are concentrated in Europe and the Americas, so good governance standards often measure other state institutions against these countries in Europe and the Americas.  Aid organizations and the authorities of developed countries often will focus the meaning of good governance to a set of requirements that conform to the organization’s agenda, making good governance imply many different things in many different contexts.  For example, in Nigeria, our goals through good governance are to develop our infrastructure and the economy including safe environment, which will protect and promote Nigerians welfare thereby creating employment for millions without job. 

In order to promote good governance, Government and people across the Nation should give adequate attention to proper use of public funds because poor management of resources has adverse effects on the socio-economic developments of any Nation including job creation.  Mismanagement of public funds and corruption are major obstacles to technology and industrial development, which lowers investment and retards economic growth, and promote unemployment and insecurity in our society.  Corruption had permeated in our Nation’s life making the majority to suffer physical and material deprivation.  I attribute Nation’s obvious stagnation in several priority sectors (energy, roads, potable water, education, agriculture, healthcare, transportation, etc.) to corruption and poor service delivery, which characterize the Nation’s public service.  Therefore, fiscal discipline in the management of resources is a critical factor in any economy in order to provide meaningful and sustainable jobs.

As mentioned above, poverty industry or poverty business refers to a wide range of money-making activities that attract a large portion of their business from the poor.  Businesses in the poverty industry often include daily pay or money lending businesses, rent-to-own centers or hire purchase businesses, hawking businesses, petty trading businesses, gambling or pool businesses, liquor stores and varieties of other low income stores or low income activities among others.  Illegal ventures such as prostitution or drug-dealing are poverty industry.  In the USA for example, poverty industry makes roughly US$33 billion a year.  Nigeria needs to do better to reduce poverty industries or poverty businesses in the Nation and shift to other hi-tech industrial businesses.  On the other hand, Nigerian economy needs thriving retail businesses because every thriving economy must have functional Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).  However, the obstacles that are being faced by Nigeria SMEs are: (1) inadequate access to credit particularly on moderate terms; this has negatively affected the growth of SMEs and their development in the Nation, (2) decision-making skills, sound management and accounting practices are very low among the Nigeria SMEs operators and (3) Commercial banks find it uneasy to assess risk premiums properly, this lead to differences in the perceived versus real risk profiles of SMEs in the Nation.  

The Nation needs a shift of the emphasis from oil to non-oil export, in agriculture, manufacturing based economy in which stable energy supply is a must, infrastructural development and solid materials, and all the things that will help Nigeria to diversify. 

As noted, sustainable development leads to sustainable job creation and it is a process for meeting human development goals while sustaining the ability of natural systems to continue to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services upon which the economy and society depend.  It is the organizing principal for sustaining finite resources necessary to provide for the needs of future generations of life on any society.  Sustainable development is a process that envisions a desirable future state for human societies in which living conditions and resource use continue to meet human needs without undermining the integrity, stability and beauty of natural biotic.

Poverty eradication, productive employment and decent work for all, social integration and protection are interrelated and mutually reinforcing.  The enabling environment to promote this need to be created at all levels of Government in the Nation.  There are widespread deficits of available decent work opportunities and lack of labor market conditions and especially for young women and men in the Nation.  I urge the Federal Government (FG) to address the challenges of youth employment by developing and implementing strategies and policies that provide young people in the Nation decent and productive work, as over the coming decades decent jobs will need to be created to be able to ensure sustainable and inclusive development and reduce poverty.  Gender gap in meaningful and sustainable job creation needs to be revisited.  This subject is in line with the eight internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals, and the Federal Government should endeavor to work towards these goals.

Persistent poverty, increasing income inequality and slow job growth – further exacerbated by financial and economic crises and climate change – are critical constraints on economic and social progress.  Promoting inclusive job-rich growth is a central challenge for all countries today.  With global unemployment at historically high levels due to population increase and the use of modern technology, there has never been a greater need to put employment at the center of economic and social policies.  Even among those who work, the extent of poverty underscores the need for a far greater number of productive and decent jobs.  The effect of high rate of illiteracy, poverty, mass unemployment and underdevelopment has been linked to armed robbery, Boko Haram insurgence, the Niger Delta militancy, kidnapping, pirating, vandalizing pipelines and other social vices in the Nation.  Youths have to shun these illegal activities, which create instability.  Instability in any society has always been very dangerous to the economy and to the peace, stability and development of the society and Nigeria will not be an exception.   

The insufficient pace in creating decent and meaningful work worldwide points to the need for greater international coordination of macro-economic policies, as well as active labor market policies at the National and State levels.  The strategy for promoting full, productive and freely chosen employment includes but is not limited to the following: skills development policies to increase the employability of workers, the competitiveness of enterprises and the inclusiveness of growth, coordinated and coherent policies to generate inclusive job-rich growth, and policies and programs to promote sustainable enterprises and entrepreneurship.  There is need to enhance employment and income opportunities for all, especially for women and men living in poverty and, in this regard, I support the Nation’s efforts to provide new job opportunities to the poor in both rural and urban areas, including support to small and medium-sized enterprises.

Tackling poverty through meaningful and sustainable job creation can be achieved in the Nation through the following; (1) individual efforts, (2) capacity building, (3) infrastructural development in which quality education and stable energy supply is a must (it should be noted that no stable electricity supply no meaningful job creation, there is no hide and seek game about it), (4) infrastructural maintenance program, (5) provision of quality technical and vocational education, (6) provision of quality information and communication technology (ICT) education, (7) effective use of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), (8) manufacturing based economy in which stable energy supply is a must, (9) tourism business, (10) adequate funding (capital including microcredit schemes) and (11) efficient agricultural development system among others.  In addition, meaningful and sustainable job creation is affected by political stability, safety and security, good governance as mentioned above, rule of law that is based on universal principles, government incentives, private enterprise, land reform, youth empowerment programs and quality of labor force among others.  Furthermore, to create meaningful jobs in the Nation, Nigerians should invest their resources in Nigeria in order to accelerate sustainable social and economic developments of the Nation.  As the saying goes: we should put our money where our mouths are!  Nigerians should emulate the likes of Alhaji Dangote, Mr. Jim Ovia and Mr. Tony Elumelu among others by investing their resources in the Nation. 

(1) Individual efforts (entrepreneurship) are very crucial to meaningful job creation.  It is a process of starting a business.  In this day and age, finding a job is increasingly difficult.  If you can’t find a job for yourself, why not create it, and create jobs for others.  Planning is very necessary in order to create a job for yourself; you need to think about how exactly you will go about it and what you will do among other things.  Make a list of all your work experience, skills, and achievements.  Then, using these suggestions, think about what you want to do in the way of a self made job.  Will you be working for someone else as an agent or contractor or really be self-employed?  Next, decide what area or field you want to work in.  Will this be a full-time or part-time job that you will create?

Get training as necessary, if you lack the proper training required for an interesting job.  Do you need lots of training or classes to be qualified for the job?  If so, how will you get that? Maybe you can work and get free training of the job and valuable experience at the same time. 

Find and fulfill a need for this particular product, skill or job you are planning to create.  Look into up-and-coming fields or check out businesses in the area to see what is missing and fill that void.  Gather your resources.  Once you have a fairly clear idea of what you want in the way of a job, you need to prepare.  Do you have an up-to-date resume?  Do you have friends, relatives or associates that may be able to help you? 

Do not be aggressive but assertive – a learnable skill and mode of communication and seek out opportunities.  Be kind to everyone you meet so you can gain an excellent reputation in your community.  Networking is a key at this stage.  Maintain ongoing professional relationships by contacting them with specific but brief thank you notes, and congratulations to your business contacts/colleagues, and be sure to meet or exceed all expectations and deadlines.  Be sure to sell your services nicely and effectively, by not being pushy or rude to anyone.  Be flexible. If you can’t make a go of it in one area, don’t beat yourself up.  There are many reasons the job you are attempting to create may not work out.  For example, if the job is too specific or niche for most people/businesses, you are likely not going to succeed.  A narrow idea may not work.  However, there is also the danger of overextending yourself, losing focusing by too broad a target, instead.  Do some researches to promote your business venture.  If you are looking to create a job for yourself within an existing business, don’t be too disappointed, if you are turned down.  Don’t take a rejection personally.  

As observed, for example, successful entrepreneurs keep focus on the customer that is paying their bills.  They do not forget that everything that they do is for the customer, since the customer is the one that is allowing them to do anything in the first place.  A good business owner will always have time for a customer, whether they have a complaint or praise.  Having good customer focus will mean that you see every customer as an opportunity to do better and grow, versus an annoyance or a difficulty. 

Finally, success in individual efforts (entrepreneurship) in creating job require business knowledge, good planning, hard work, smart ideas, funding or capital, self discipline, patience and luck among others.  Be persistent.   

(2) Capacity Building: Capacity building is a process of developing and strengthening the skills, instincts, abilities, processes and resources that organizations and communities need to survive, adapt, and thrive in the fast-changing world.  It is an organization’s ability to achieve its mission effectively and to sustain itself over the long term. Also, it refers to the skills and capabilities of individuals. It is person’s ability to define and realize his/her goals or to do his/her job more effectively.  For organizations, capacity building may relate to almost any aspect of its work: improved governance, leadership, mission and strategy, administration (including human resources, financial management, and legal matters), program development and implementation, fundraising and income generation, diversity, partnerships and collaboration, evaluation, advocacy and policy change, marketing, positioning and planning among others.  For individuals, capacity building relates to leadership development, advocacy skills, training/speaking abilities, technical skills, organizing skills, and other areas of personal and professional development.  In short, capacity building is an assistance which is provided to entities, usually developing country societies, which have a need to develop a certain skill or competence, or for general upgrading of performance ability.  Most capacity is built by societies themselves, sometimes in the public, sometimes in the non-governmental and sometimes in the private sector.  Capacity building is, however, not limited to international aid work.  More recently, capacity building is being used by government to transform community and industry approach to economic, social and environmental problems.  The Nation should encourage capacity building initiatives across organizations in the Nation for meaningful and sustainable job creation.

(3) Infrastructural Development in which stable energy supply and quality education is provided is very crucial in creating sustainable and meaningful job. As noted, local and foreign investment options abound everywhere in the Nation to create employment for the youths: in agriculture, manufacturing, culture and tourism, education, healthcare, petrochemical and fertilizer industries, road construction, housing, energy, information and communication technology, insurance, banking, raw materials and mining among others.  The lack of sustainable industrial and technology developments in the Nation is a serious matter that requires stronger commitments in the form of practical approach to priority issues (infrastructural developments) from the Local Governments to the States Government to FG.  As noted, ones degree of commitment determines ones degree of success!  Therefore, I believe that in all human endeavors, the different between success and failure is time, determination and genuine commitments, and Nigeria should be committed in perusing these developmental goals for sustainable and meaningful job creation.    

The cornerstone for sustainable development in the Nation that could bring about meaningful job creation is through a practical approach in infrastructural development: development in education to create efficient human resources – the greatest resources of any society.  It also requires the development in energy as energy is one of the prime factors for industrial and technology developments including manufacturing industries, development in transportation, and development in roads as our roads are death trap.  Furthermore, it requires the development of waterways, housing, healthcare as our healthcare system is in shambles, and development in information technology – one of the fastest growing technologies is poorly operated in the Nation due to network problems.  Development in potable water supply is critical as the masses are suffering from typhoid and diarrhea related diseases due to bad water, development of urban and rural sanitation, and development in agriculture as our food is about 80% carbohydrate, which could lead to diabetic related diseases (there is need to diversify food production).  Effective Research and Development (R&D) and effective use of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) among others should be considered in order to promote meaningful job creation.  

(4) Infrastructural Maintenance Program: as a way forward to actualize social and economic developments in the Nation, I suggest that Nigeria initiate National Public Works Program (NPWP), an infrastructural maintenance program to create sustainable and meaningful employment for millions of Nigerians that are without job.  The NPWP should cover renovation/rehabilitation of the old infrastructure: hospitals, schools, recreation centers and parks, highways, urban and rural roads, streets, waterways, irrigation, dredging, reclamation, erosion and oil degraded sites, environment and sanitation control in rural and urban cities among others.  The above program should be given high priority with regard to economic and social development, job creation and crime reduction.  In other words, the Federal Government should give immediate priority to medium term projects that are critical to National development.  The execution of this program will promote and provide favorable environment for investors (local and international) including the promotion of safety and security in the Nation.  The above program should also accommodate short-term and long-term projects.  Public Works Program worked in many Nations including the USA created many jobs, and laid the foundation for development in these Nations.  I believed it will work (promote job creation, social and economic developments) in Nigeria if properly managed.  As noted, the above programs or projects have been neglected or abandoned for many years; and will require a long period of time to fix. Also, the NPWP is capital intensive programs or projects; hence the Nation’s indebtedness poses a red flag.  I believe that excellent governance and good economic policies can help the growth process.  I acknowledge that the Government cannot in four years, or even in ten years, correct the mistakes of the past years of errors.  As noted, the President is positioning the Nation to find opportunities to excel despite the economic turmoil.  I am convinced that what the Nation needs first and foremost is authentic economic development plan, which I believe the current National leadership is capable of achieving.  

The NPWP should be in collaboration with the 774 Local Governments, the States Government, FG including the Federal Capital Territory and private sectors in the Nation, specifically, the big corporations through their respective Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) department.  The big corporations in the Nation are required to actively participate in this program so that their businesses embrace responsibility for the impact of their activities on the environment, consumers, employees and communities.  Furthermore, the big corporations should proactively promote the Nation’s public interest by encouraging community growth and development.  A case in point, a corporation such as Dangote Group has to be more responsible in order to reduce the employees reckless driving in the Nation.  The organization’s truck drivers constitute public nuisance on the roads and to the general public properties and safety.  In addition, the organization’s heavy trucks destroy public roads.  The Federal Government has to address this issue including the menace of accidents involving Dangote Group trailers in the country through the corporation’s CSR department. 

Continued inaction or slow pace in infrastructural maintenance program poses serious costs for everyone.  These costs are unemployment, human and financial, felt by millions of people at home, and those abroad who endure years of separation or deferred dreams.  Also, it affect millions more hardworking families whose wages are depressed due to lack of efficient infrastructural maintenance program in the Nation.  That’s why infrastructural maintenance program is an economic imperative and an essential step needed to strengthen our middle class, maintain the existing industries, create new industries and new jobs, and make Nigeria remains competitive in the global economy. Finally, the Federal Government should focus on road construction and rehabilitation in the rural areas, in the belief that infrastructural transformation is critical to economic development.  In a nutshell, the overall goal of NPWP is social and economic development, job creation and creating Nigeria economic development beyond oil.

  (5) Provision of technical and vocational education for meaningful and sustainable job creation is very crucial.  Although education is more important than ever, there are still a lot of jobs that require some technical training but not a college degree, such as paralegals, dental hygienists, welders, electricians, carpenters, hospitalities and a variety of medical technicians among others.  Steering more students into vocational and technical schools at a younger age could generate more workers with skills that employers need.  According to data recently released by the Organization for Co-operation and Development (OECD), more than half of Russian adults held tertiary degrees in 2012, the equivalent of college degree in the United States and more than in any other country reviewed.  Meanwhile, less than 4% of Chinese adults had tertiary qualifications in 2012, less than in any other country.  That is, China relies on technical and vocational education than college degree and this fact points to the high industrial output of China.  In 2015, the five largest countries by industrial output according to IMF (billions in USD) are China: 4,922, European Union: 4,162, USA: 3,752, Japan: 1,082 and Germany: 1,051.

As observed, too many students earn degrees in arts, literature and social sciences, while there’s a shortage of mathematics, science and engineering graduates.  Parents and educators could do a much better job of guiding kids into fields where the jobs are, which would raise the payback for getting a college degree and encourage more to attend.

It should be noted that technical and vocational education is the key to sustainable and meaningful job creation in the Nation.  The Federal Government must rebuild the moribund educational facilities, engage quality and skillful teachers, equip the schools in the rural and urban areas with educational infrastructure including comprehensive sporting facilities to catch talented sports persons in their prime because sports have become big business and big employer of labor locally and internationally.  The Nation must leverage on the enormous talents that abound among our youths, develop these sporting talents.  In this direction, the educational sector has a strategic role to play in creating the necessary skills that would enable the youths to become creators of jobs and not just job seekers.  Quality technical and vocational education will make youths obtain job easier in technology and industrial based organizations instead of organizations seeking foreign technicians.  As noted, a child with quality education (not how far but how well) has a better chance to succeed because knowledge is power.  The best gift to any child is good education. 

(6) Development of quality Information and Communication Technology (ICT) education is the provision of e-learning spaces and training for teachers and students across the Nation.  It is the applications of computers and telecommunications equipment to store, retrieves, transmit and manipulate data.  ICT education includes software applications but is not limited to, word processing, spreadsheets, databases, Web browsers and e-mail clients, digital media playback, games and myriad personal productivity and special-purpose software applications.  

The state of the Information Technology System in the Nation needs to be addressed in line with the trend of the 21st century computer technology, and it calls for urgent steps to be taken to promote computer education, which will create meaningful jobs across the Nation. 

I strongly suggest that the Nation include ICT in schools’ curriculums.  ICT education has advantages that images can easily be used in teaching and improving the retentive memory of students, teachers can easily explain complex instructions and ensure students’ comprehension and teachers are able to create interactive classes and make the lessons more enjoyable, which could improve student attendance and concentration.  However, ICT has disadvantages because setting up the devices can be very troublesome, too expensive to afford and hard for teachers to use with a lack of experience using ICT tools.  

The current trend in ICT shows that South Korea, United States and China are promoting strategy for “Smart Education”, focusing on customized learning and teaching; as the digital technology in the classroom might help to engage pupils and students in their learning and could save schools money.  It is believed that the new learning strategy will deliver the best results for pupils, students, parents, and teachers.  Smart Education will change how we perceive textbooks; that is, the transfer from the traditional paper textbooks to digital textbooks that will allow students to explore the world beyond the classroom.  Therefore, it is imperative that the Federal Government prioritized information and Communication technology for Public primary, secondary, technical and vocational schools, and higher institutions in order to create meaningful job opportunities for our youths.

The Federal Government cannot only rely on ICT infrastructure development to become competitive.  Rather, the benefits of ICT can only be fully derived when the Nation implements a holistic strategy aimed at creating conditions for skills, innovation and entrepreneurship to flourish alongside modern infrastructure.

For the Nation to close the digital divide or digital gap; the Federal Government require adequate educational infrastructures; especially, up-to-date computers, stable power supply, funds and large scale capacity building in ICT sector for the teachers, students and the pupils.  As observed, tertiary institutions in the Nation are not producing competent and enough ICT graduates to meet National demand.  The lack of young ICT professionals is not limited to Nigeria but globally.  Increasing connectivity, the internet of everything, rising digitization of all business activities, globalization of trade and travel, and global economic growth has created the same problem in many Nations.  Promoting quality ICT education will translate to quality labor force and could promote outsourcing industry for the Nation.  Stable power supply and quality education are crucial to the success of ICT education.

 (7) Effective use of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to create meaningful jobs in the Nation is highly suggested.  FDI is a controlling ownership in a business enterprise in one country by an entity based in another country.  A foreign direct investment includes but is not limited to mergers and acquisitions, building new facilities, reinvesting profits earned from overseas operations and intra company loans.  In a nut shell, foreign direct investment refers to building new facilities.

FDI is increasingly being recognized as an important factor in the economic development of countries.  Besides bringing capital, it facilitates the transfer of technology, organizational and managerial practices and skills as well as access to international markets.  More and more countries are striving to create a favorable and enabling climate to attract FDI as a policy priority.  In addition to reducing the restrictions on the entry of FDI, they are actively liberalizing their FDI regimes.  In terms of the types of fiscal incentives granted, there is clearly an increasing trend towards offering full or partial tax holidays or tax rate reductions for specific types of activities.  Typically, export incentives apply to almost all taxes, whereas with other kinds of incentives, the trend is towards a more selective exemption or partial exemption.  Attracting beneficial FDI and local direct investment (LDI) is critical for National economic diversification and development, which could promote employment.  More incentive opportunities for FDI will translate to more meaningful and sustainable job creation for Nigerians.  As noted, besides infrastructural development, the issue of frustrating the investors (local and international) is one of the factors retarding the social and economic development of the Nation.

The Federal Government should encourage Foreign Direct Investment program and incentives to accelerate the net inflows of investment to acquire a lasting management interest in enterprises operating in the economy of the Nation.  Increasing foreign investment can be used by the Nation as one measure of growing economic globalization.  Effective management of FDI will promote wealth for the Nation, accelerate industrial and technology developments and enhance employment for Nigerians.   

(8) Manufacturing based economy is required for meaningful and sustainable job creation in the State.  Providing enabling environment for growth of local and international industries is a must and the power sector must and should be revived.  Without stable electricity supply local manufacturing becomes very expensive.  That is, without stable electricity supply it becomes cheaper to import goods from abroad than to produce them locally.  In other words, without stable electricity supply, there will be no meaningful and sustainable job creation.  

We must promote made-in-Nigeria goods by buying made-in-Nigeria products.  Nigerian consumers also have a role to play to encourage local manufacturing of items that can easily be made here rather than rely so much on imports from China.  We should halt the inordinate desire for foreign products for which substitutes are available in Nigeria.  This will expand the market and create more jobs.  Nigerian producers or manufacturers must abide by the international standard of products.  For example, most medication in the Nation is not effective due to the fact that the active ingredient or ingredients are not present or are present in minute quantity, and not as specified by the manufacturers.  Sometimes, these medications are sold to customers when they are expired.  It is a serious issue and requires the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMGMAN) to address these shortcomings.  In addition, the Federal Government can create credible jobs through the value chain in mineral exploitation, small and medium enterprises, by creating local demand and empowering local producers.

Furthermore, promotion of cottage industries is crucial to meaningful and sustainable job creation for Nigerians.  As noted, a cottage industry is an industry where the creation of products and services is home-based, rather than factory-based.  While products and services created by cottage industry are often unique and distinctive given the fact that they are usually not mass-produced, producers in this sector often face numerous disadvantages when trying to compete with much larger factory-based companies.  As observed, the National system is fraught with systemic failure of the previous Federal Government to fix the largely dilapidated and grossly non-functional infrastructure so as to create the enabling environment for willing entrepreneurs with the capital to set up cottage industries that would create meaningful and sustainable job opportunities for the jobless youths.

(9) The Federal Government should note that adequate funding and financing are key to business success.  One of the causes of business failure in the Nation is lack of capital for the indigenes.  The Federal Government should assist local investors by creating an affordable loan system; (loans with low interest rate and long-term pay back).  Financial assistance should come as micro-financing from local banks, from Federal, State and Local Governments, the World Bank, small business development agencies and the use of soft loan among others.  Micro-finance is a general term to describe financial services to low-income individuals or to those who do not have access to typical banking services.  Micro-finance is also the idea that low-income individuals are capable of lifting themselves out of poverty if given access to financial services. 

(10) Tourism is big business, and there is need to revisit the sector in line with peace, environmental sanitation, safety and security of our communities.  The Federal Government could boost tourism here by streamlining the visa process for foreigners and aggressively promoting travel to Nigeria, which will promote tourism business in the Nation and create jobs.

(11) Agriculture: once agricultural sector is prioritized again by the Federal Government as being stressed, there will be credible jobs, financial institutions to provide soft agricultural loans and credit facilities for farmers especially in the rural areas. There is also the need to reform the land laws to collateralized local lands and make them collaterals for bank loans.  For agriculture to create meaningful jobs, agricultural development should be addressed in line with scarcity of variety of foods, promotion of processing methods for agricultural products and promotion of food preservation, promotion of commercial mechanized and commercial non-mechanized agriculture among others. 

The decline in agricultural sector in the past years is due to lack of investment and inadequate research and development in the sector.  Over the past years, agricultural productivity in the Nation has been stagnant or declining because of years of under investment.  Lack of investment in this sector leads to poverty, hunger in the Nation, and the resulting waste in human lives.  There should be a focus on the smallholder farmers because they produce about 80 to 90 per cent of the food we consume in this Nation; they are part of the solution to food sufficiency and security in Nigeria.  The Stakeholders should support farmers with fertilizers and adequate capital base through micro-finance.  However, farmers should be trained to have a sound knowledge on the use of chemical fertilizers on agricultural food production including the use of synthetic pesticides.  This will promote healthy conventional food production and food export while driving towards organic food production, which will reduce the dangers of consuming foods containing unacceptable levels of chemicals.

In conclusion, meaningful and sustainable job creation as outlined is in line with Mr. President’s agenda for job creation by his administration.  I’m convinced that the President promised to pursue it vigorously despite the financial crunch and sued for a change of attitude to work especially by public officials.  With an enabling environment and sustainable peace, government should place emphasis on skills related vocational and technical trainings so that youths will be entrepreneurs and not job seekers.  We should emphasize the acquisition of skills (in order to produce quality labor force) rather than certificates and the educational system should be configured and supported to achieve this goal. 

As state above, Federal Government can tackle poverty through meaningful and sustainable job creation through the value chain in mineral exploitation, small and medium enterprises, by creating local demand and empowering local producers.  Also, as noted, the Nation will gain a lot if youths are empowered to acquire modern skills.  Quality education is the key to sustainable job creation.  The Federal Government must rebuild the moribund educational facilities, engage quality and skillful teachers, equip the schools in the rural and urban areas with comprehensive educational infrastructure including sporting facilities to catch talented sports persons in their prime.  Educational sector has a strategic role to play in creating the necessary skills that would enable the youths to become creators of jobs and not just job seekers.  The Nation should minimize Brain Drain to maximize Brain Gain through the provision of incentives that will attract Nigerian professionals in the Diaspora.  

The Federal Government should recognize the importance of job creation by investing in and developing sound, effective and efficient economic and social infrastructure and productive capacities for sustainable development and sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth.   Also the Nation should recognize the importance of job creation by adopting forward-looking macroeconomic policies that promote sustainable development and lead to sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth, increase productive employment opportunities and promote agricultural and industrial development.  The Nation’s workers should have access to quality education, skills, health care, social security, fundamental rights at work, social and legal protections, including occupational safety and health, and decent work opportunities.  Government, trade unions, workers and employers all have a role to play in promoting decent work for all, and all should help young people to gain access to needed skills and employment opportunities, including in new and emerging sectors.  Women and men should have equal access to opportunities to acquire job skills as well as to worker protections.  As observed, Government exists to cater for the well-being of the populace.  Therefore, it is its duties to provide social amenities for the good of all, be it electricity, water, road, among other infrastructure.  It is more important when it comes to education, as it is an avenue where the leaders of tomorrow are prepared for the challenges of tomorrow.  These challenges call for transcendental governance or a transformational leadership.  I believe that the Federal Government is doing a good job towards providing the enabling environment for meaningful and sustainable job creation – good luck.   

Elder (Dr.) Chukwuma O. Nwaonicha

 

Elder (Dr.) Chukwuma O. Nwaonicha writes from Agbor, Delta State

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