About 40 million Nigerians translating to 23.9 per cent are unemployed, Chairman, Subsidy Reinvestment Programme (SURE-P) Dr. Christopher Kolade has said.
He spoke yesterday in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital at a sensitisation forum for firms in the state.
Quoting the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), he added that one of the challenges of graduate unemployment is the “inability of the system to absorb the about 300,000 graduates churned out of our tertiary institutions.”
Kolade, who was represented at the forum by the Assistant Director and Head of Services, SURE-P, Anthony Kalu, said:“Firms readily blame lack of experience, high cost of maintaining a large work force and the need to maintain profit above the red line as the reason for not employing the graduates. GIS provides a way out of this dilemma by developing a skill base that firms can benefit from among our graduates at very minimal cost.
He added that the Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS) of the programme aims to employ at about 50,000 unemployed graduates in 36 states and FCT in one year.
He said the scheme is targeted at improving the skills unemployed graduates through work placement in registered firms.
The chairman SURE-P, who lamented that only 35 per cent of 2,000 registered firms had met minimum requirement for participation, said over 96,000 unemployed graduates have registered on the GIS portal.
The SURE-P chief, therefore, described the forum as a call to action for the participating firms, urging them to partner with the Federal Government and contribute their quota to addressing graduate unemployment.
“In Kwara State, 46 organisations have registered and five have been approved to take interns. Also, out of the 3,290 graduates that have registered in the state, 21 have been matched to firms and only three have been hired.
“Clearly, there is an urgent need for more firms to participate in this programme and take graduates out of the labour market,” he said.
Kolade said graduates will be placed in profit, non-profit organisations and selected government agencies on a one year internship, adding that the interns are expected to acquire professional skills, training and work experience to improve their job placement opportunities.
He said the Federal Government will pay a monthly stipend of N25,000 to the interns while participating institutions will be expected to provide adequate opportunities for work and mentoring, including personal accident insurance.
“Government is concerned about high unemployment rate and is doing everything possible to reverse it. It recognises the fact that stakeholders- Federal Government, state governments, local governments, organised private sector, development organisations, and religious organisations must also resolve to reverse this trend for it to change,” he said.
Read more: The Nation