‘Less Than 1% Unemployed Youths Benefits from Govt’s  Safety’  

Omolabake Fasogbon

Not up to one per cent of over 50 per cent unemployed youths population in Nigeria have been able to access support from   government’s social safety net structures which are set up to cushion effects of poverty and unemployment. 

Moreover, religious bodies where the unemployed fall back on for relief after facing denial in the government’s net have proven unproductive, forcing many youths to resort to ‘side hustle’ to survive. 

In its 2022 recent report, West Africa’s online job platform, Jobberman further reckoned that limited coverage and weak targeting of social interventions, amongst others may have denied a larger percentage of youths due access. 

Noting that Nigeria’s  increasing unemployment rate on a yearly average of six percent was worrying, with far -reaching effects, Chief Executive Officer of Jobberman, Oreoluwa Boboye said it was high time youths shifted their priority away from white collar jobs and develop their side hustle to main job. 

Boboye, who shed more light on the report during an unemployment roundtable discussion organised by Jobberman in partnership with the MasterCard Foundation, admitted to unemployment surge, but opined that scary statistics was also due to the general belief and understanding of what a job is. 

He said, “When you hear about a job, what readily comes to mind is white collar job, a feeling of working in the office and being entitled to perks and others.  Overtime, this dictates what is termed as gainful employment and because people are not finding their desired opportunity in the white collar space, they tend to tag themselves as unemployed. 

“But the job is actually beyond white collar job. A lot of youths are engaged in the informal sector with one kind of hustle or another. They usually call this survival, but it is in the actual sense not survival because they are making money from it. Like every successful and established entrepreneur, they must wake up to focus and develop that side hustle or survival to main hustle. This is the way to go because considering Nigeria’s growing population, there will always be job demand and supplier mismatch.

On his part, Managing Director of Sterling Bank Limited, Abubakar Suleiman, in his keynote address, wants the youths to rely less on the government for jobs but to start thinking out of the box. 

To him, the government is not set up to create jobs, but to enable job creation. “We must set out to create jobs and ensure the government provides the necessary support. We need the government to be less obstructive, to be out of the way and create an environment for young people to attempt to create businesses because they have the capacity.”

On areas youths can explore for job creation, Suleiman added,  “We have a better chance to create jobs in agriculture, food processing, construction and real estate than we do in providing jobs in banking. The truth is we must retune our educational system to focus where the opportunity exists and create this jobs”

Boboye further advised on values reorientation, calling for a projection of success stories in the informal sector as a way of motivating players. 

He also tasked the government to see to putting structures in place to formalise the informal sector.

Also, the CEO of The Africa Talent Company (parent company of Jobberman), Hilda Kragha stressed the need for youths to develop and repackage their side hustle as a means of livelihood. 

She maintained that the society must encourage the youths by ascribing values and importance to the informal jobs they do. 

“Society needs to appreciate the brave ones who have set out on their own to make a living. They shouldn’t be underpriced or underpaid as this could be discouraging. They need to be rewarded and appreciated.”

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