During the campaigns, President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC made unemployment a focal point. The key promise was to provide millions of jobs through the proposed Social Protection Programme, an intervention programme aimed at lifting citizens out of poverty. The Social Protection Programme was formally launched by the president on May 29, 2016, and one of its five key areas is to provide 500,000 teaching jobs for young graduates.
In August 2016, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released a report that said the “number of unemployed Nigerians had risen from 24.4 million in the first quarter of the year to 26.06 million“. The numbers are definitely worrisome but contrarily, mainstream media reports show job opportunities are opening up in thousands and a few promises have been kept… even if it’s ‘on paper’.
We decided to keep track of the numbers within a time frame – here’s a brief timeline of the thousands of job opportunities that have made news headlines recently, not minding its inability to fill the unemployment gap.
May 14: Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed said the increase in fuel prices at the time would potentially create 200,000 jobs through investments in refineries.
Not much has been heard of this from the minister since that time and the proposed investment in refineries are yet to be effected.
October 28: Through the Lagos State Government Ministry of Transport, 1,000 graduates will be employed by the Bus Conductors Association of Nigeria (BCAN) as bus conductors.
The successful applicants will be trained to be professional conductors and will earn N50,000 monthly.
November 2: The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) advertised 500 positions but received 700,000 applications, 2,000 from First Class degree holders.
Recall a similar circumstance in 2012 where over 13,000 applications were received for 1,000 truck driving positions at Dangote Group. Some of the applicants were PhD and MBA holders.
November 4: Federal Government employs 150,000 graduates for temporary teaching jobs as part of its Volunteer Job programme. Another 50,000 were employed as agricultural extension workers.
Vice President Osinbajo revealed that almost a million applications were received but the first batch of 200,000 has been rolled out.
November 9: According to the Executive Director (Communication) of Dangote Group, 250,000 job opportunities will be made available through the company’s investment in new projects.
Dangote Group is constructing sugar plantations in Northern states including Sokoto and Taraba.
November 10: The Lagos State government set up a N25billion Employment Trust Fund aimed at creating employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for Lagosians.
Through this trust fund, 300,000 direct and 600,000 indirect jobs will be created in the state. Loans will be provided to SMEs and training to job applicants.
November 17: The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige announced that the Federal Government will be providing 490,000 jobs to youths in the next three years through a new initiative called Smart Farmers Scheme.
Through another scheme called Agricultural Park, an additional 3,000 jobs will be created.
President Buhari has reiterated his administration’s commitment to making the agricultural sector a priority in achieving the job creation goal and for food sufficiency. But we can’t wait to see when – if at all – these paper jobs will start reflecting not only in NBS figures but also in our everyday reality.
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