CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi
By Jude Okwe
Any country that solely depends on natural resources for progress and prosperous economy cannot compete with others nor make it as the world today is driven by knowledge acquisition in all spheres, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has said.
The CBN governor stated this in Calabar while delivering a lecture entitled: ‘Employment Skills, Values, Opportunities and Challenges of University Graduating Students,’ at the annual University of Calabar lecture series.
He said changing trends in the global economy is knowledge-based and driven by advances in information and communications technology which have significantly raised the stakes in the labour market.
“Knowledge has become important factor propelling growth in the world economy today and as a matter of fact, natural resources are increasingly becoming less important in the development equation,” he added.
According to him, employers were after graduates who are not only technically knowledgeable in their chosen fields but also have what he called complementary life skills in order to deliver the highest possible value to the organisation.
“It is common knowledge that currently, Nigeria appears to have lost competitiveness in the labour space. In the decades past, up till the mid 70s, the country’s universities produced graduates who could compete favourably with graduates from top universities across the global job market but unfortunately there has been a drastic change in the fortune of graduates of Nigerian universities as most of them are presently perceived to be unemployable.”
The CBN governor noted that the high rate of unemployment figures which stood at 20.0 per cent in 2011 for those with degrees, 5.1 per cent for those with Masters, and 9.1 per cent for those with PhDs was worrisome.
“Even more scandalous is a recent media report that six PhD holders, seven hundred and four Masters Degree holders applied for driving positions with Dangote group is a clear evidence of the level of employability of graduates from the Nigerian university system”
Sanusi said with the expanding opportunities for university education in Nigeria which is without corresponding increase in job openings, the unemployment situation can only get worse.
Reeling out figures, the CBN governor revealed that “from five universities in 60s, the number has increased to over 100 and about 97 polytechnics and 47 monotechnics as at 2012. Concomitantly, student enrolment has also been increasing significantly. In 2006 and 2007, the total enrolment in higher institutions in Nigeria stood at 12.37 million and 1.98 respectively’.
With these unpleasant figures, he asserted, attention has to be paid to measures that are needed to enhance employability skills and values which currently lack in most Nigerian graduates. He listed these skills to include ICT, Information Technology, communication skills, numeracy, problem solving and analytical skills, innovation and creativity, integrity , and honesty to make them marketable world over.
Speaking on current opportunities for graduates, the CBN helmsman said the government and other stakeholders should create jobs opportunities for the youths as a response to this, the government has Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme, Graduate Internship Scheme, Public Works and Women/Youth Empowerment Scheme YouWin Project and Petroleum Technology Development Fund and advised youths to take advantage of these schemes to get out of the unemployment quagmire.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Professor James Epoke, said university has embraced the Power Intervention Programme of the CBN and called for assistance from the CBN.