The Senate has resolved to tackle youth unemployment, poverty, and reform of the educational sector, among other challenges facing the country.
The lawmakers made the resolution on Thursday in the Red Chamber following the adoption of the Legislative Agenda for the Ninth Senate.
They vowed to channel their energy towards strengthening Basic and Technical Education by enhancing oversight on the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), to ensure the implementation of the provisions of the Act.
In his remarks, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, pledged that the upper chamber of the National Assembly would work to reduce the number of out-of-school children across the country.
“Today, the education sector suffers a lot,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by his Special Assistant on Press, Ezrel Tabiowo.
The Senate President added, “The 11 million or 12 million children out of school – we owe them that responsibility to do something about them, and that is taking us back to the implementation of the Basic Education Act.
“How do we ensure that we reduce and eliminate the number of out-of-school children on our street? Whatever name we have to give that programme, we have to do something and government has to take responsibility.”
Senate President Lawan also noted that the government, at the federal and state levels, would have to create some funds to employ and train more teachers.
He gave assurance that the lawmakers, on their part, would work assiduously to implement its legislative agenda.
The Senate President said, “This legislative agenda is particularly ours. We represent the people, we know their feelings, and we imagine that the legislative perspectives we have here may be slightly different from the executive perspective.
“But at the same time, we are going to serve the same people, and that is where the need for us to come together and to reconcile our thinking on taking Nigeria to the next level will be.”
France’s unemployment rate dipped slightly in the second quarter to 8.5 per cent, its lowest level in a decade, the national statistics agency Insee said Wednesday, confirming a moderate downward trend begun in mid-2015.
On the French mainland, the rate fell 0.2 points compared with the first quarter to 8.2 per cent, or 2.4 million jobless.
The level stood at 8.5 per cent when French overseas territories were included, also down 0.2 points over the first three months of 2019 to the lowest level since 2009.
The fall in the number of jobless mirrors the situation in the wider eurozone, where unemployment fell to an 11-year low of 7.5 percent of May.
France, however, has long been one of the poorer performers among major EU economies.
Pro-business President Emmanuel Macron, like his socialist predecessor Francois Hollande, has made bringing down the country’s stubbornly high unemployment rate his top priority.
He has loosened the country’s labour laws, cut corporate taxes and pushed through a law requiring people to work for longer before claiming unemployment benefits in order to encourage hiring.
Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, believes acquiring entrepreneurship skillswill go a long way to address unemployment in the country.
He made the remark at the 17th Combined Convocation ceremony of the Federal Polytechnic Ado-Ekiti held on Saturday in Ekiti State.
Governor Ganduje spoke shortly after he was honoured at the event with an Award of Fellowship of the institution.
“With rising trends in unemployment predicaments in our society for both skilled and unskilled individuals, technical and vocational education provides the necessary remedy to this disturbing scenario of unemployability of graduates of tertiary institutions,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Abba Anwar.
The governor, therefore, urged polytechnics across the country to continue providing the leading steps towards entrepreneurship education for self-employment and job creation.
He highlighted some of the successes recorded by his administration in primary and post-primary education.
“For example, in our eight tertiary institutions of learning, we have over 279 programmes that are accredited by agencies responsible for such exercise.
“For instance, Kano University of Science and Technology, Wudil, has 27 programmes; Yusuf Maitama Sule University, Kano has 32 programmes and Kano Polytechnic has 72 programmes,” Governor Ganduje added.
Others according to him are Audu Bako College of Agriculture, Dambatta – 27; Kano State College of Education and Preliminary Studies – 15 programmes; College of Arts and Remedial Studies, Tudun Wada has – 18; Aminu Kano College of Islamic and Legal Studies – 10 programmes; and Sa’Adatu Rimi College of Education, Kumbotso – 78, all accredited programmes.
In their remarks, the Chairman of the Governing Council and the Rector of the polytechnic, Austin Edeze and Dr Dayo Oladebeye, commended the governor for his commitment to the development of education in Kano.
They recalled the Governor Ganduje was a one-time Chairman of the institution’s Governing Council, saying the polytechnic witnessed tremendous academic excellence during his time.
Ganduje was accompanied by the Rector of Kano State Polytechnic, Professor Mukhtar Kurawa; and the Vice-Chancellor of the Kano University of Science and Technology, Wudil, Professor Shehu Musa.
Others are the Provost of Kano College of Education and Preliminary Studies, Dr Sunusi Ahmad, and the Provost of Sa’adatu Rimi College of Education, Kumbotso, Dr Yahaya Isah Bunkure.
President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated his administration’s commitment to tackling the challenge of unemployment in the country.
The president who was represented by the former Deputy Governor of Kano State, Professor Hafiz Abubakar at the 4th convocation ceremony of the Federal University Dutsin-Ma, Katsina State, listed a number of programmes which he says his administration is doing to provide employment and consequently, alleviate poverty.
Some of such initiatives include the N-Power and Tradermoni programmes, as well as agriculture loans for youths and the signing of the NotTooYoungToRun Bill.
According to him, the signing of the bill would encourage youths to participate actively in politics and acquire leadership skills at a tender age, which he believes would potentially prolong their positive services to the country.
The President further stated that his administration is fully aware of the challenges confronting all sectors of the economy, especially education.
He noted that his government is doing everything possible to improve structures and facilities in Nigerian institutions and to provide maximum manpower and training through the various TETFUND intervention programmes.
They want the government to take other urgent measures to stimulate production and other economic activities to engage young Nigerians.
The senators also agreed that the government should increase the budgets to education by allocating and effectively implementing 26 per cent of the annual budget to the sector.
They recommended that this should begin from the next budget cycle in 2020 and enjoined state governments to do the same.
The Senate also urged the government to adopt the policy of annual recruitment of at least 100,000 personnel per year for all the security organs in the country.
These resolutions were made following a motion by Senator Chukwuka Utazi on bridging the gap between the haves and the have-not in Nigeria, to nip in the bud the seeds of a ‘looming violent revolution’.
In his contribution, Senator Shehu Sani noted that the motion was more of a wakeup call to the government regarding the provision it has made to address the problem of unemployment.
He added that the importance of the deliberation was not for the sake of the present but the future of the country.
Senator Babba Keita, on his part, called on the government to stand firm and put fundamental measures in place that would address the nation’s challenges.
Also speaking about the matter, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce believes the problems will only be resolved when Nigeria can get its actual population.
He questioned, “Does anybody care about the population control policy? How much do we spend on education? When these are put in place; with the right figure on the Nigerian population, then issues can be addressed adequately.”
In his contribution, Senator Yusuf Yusuf said, “In this country, the poor is subsidising the rich. Until we put a stop to this, the rich will never know peace. We need to have a change in attitude.”
For the Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan, there is a need for leaders to think outside the box to achieve “something more sustainable”.
“Today, we are leaders in this country, and we need to provide solutions to social economic issues. We need to ensure that all hands are on deck. We must provide a way out,” he said.
The Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, said the issue of unemployment requires “very serious” attention and thanked the sponsor of the motion.
In his remarks, the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, thanked his colleagues for their contributions, particularly Senator Utazi for the very important motion.
“We must address issues of unemployment and begin to think out of the box on how to do that,” he said.
Senator Saraki added, “Again, it is not just a Federal Government responsibility, states and local governments also have a role to play and I hope that we continue to follow this up in our different committees and responsibilities too, because we all have a responsibility to oversee and ensure that these things we have talked about are implemented.”
According to the lawmaker, the policies are there and the Senate must play its role in ensuring that relevant agencies, from agriculture to the issue of job creation, social safety; are held accountable.
He also reiterated the need for the country to separate the maintenance of law and order from the issue of poverty.
The Senate President, “It cannot be an excuse that as a nation, no matter how bad it is, we must be able to maintain law and order and that is why it is important that we as parliament give all the support that is necessary to all the security agencies and all government policies on security to see that we maintain law and order.
“It is key and we must address it. Bills that need to be passed to strengthen whether it is the police, their responsibilities, their training, their resources or their budgets; it is also important that we must ensure that we can maintain law and order.”
Senator Saraki noted that those who responsible for maintaining law and order must also understand that there cannot be any excuses for not being able to function effectively.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr Chris Ngige says government programmes have so far created about eight million jobs through agriculture and vocational skills training.
He said that rice production has created new groups of millionaires in Nigeria.
The Minister, a guest on Channels TV Sunrise Daily on Wednesday, decried the responses given to blue collar jobs by youths in the country.
“We did food security arrangements, tackled agriculture. The government went into agriculture, started encouraging farmers.
“Government programmes have yielded a lot of fruits if you go to the Agric belts of Nigeria; Kano, Jigawa, Katsina, Anambra, Enugu, Ogun, Kebbi states. Rice production created a new group of millionaires, the farmers.
And there is the backward integration of the rice mills, jute bag manufacturers and the rest of them all, a lot of jobs have been created numbering about 8 million now,” he added.
He said that the government had embarked on advocacy, promoting blue collar jobs.
“We did advocacy and told people not to look at white collar jobs, there are blue collar jobs, skills. You have to train your hands, you have to do plumbing, carpentry, tailoring.
“We have a mini in collaboration with the state government, we send people to the skills centre to train them and people come in there as an apprentice and after we finish with them, we empower them. But the problem is that how many people are ready to come here and train?
“The responses to the programmes are low, they regard those jobs as unbefitting to people’s status, but it is not true.”
Thousands of South African workers staged nationwide demonstrations on Wednesday to protest high unemployment and government policies that they say have failed to create jobs and are deepening poverty.
Workers dressed in red t-shirts, showing their loyalty to the trade union movement, gathered in the southeastern port city of Durban, Johannesburg and other locations for open-air rallies three months ahead of the country’s general election.
Companies in South Africa, notably in the mining sector, have shed tens of thousands of jobs in recent years in what unions have termed a “jobs bloodbath” as the economy of Africa’s most industrialised nation struggles for growth.
South Africa has a near-record 27 per cent unemployment rate, with trade unions saying 9.3 million employable people need jobs.
Zingiswa Losi, president of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), led the main march in Durban, which was attended by about 6,000 people.
“Today’s march is a national strike and we are marching to (say to the) government and the private sector, we cannot afford to lose jobs in this country,” Losi told reporters at the start of the demonstration.
About 2,000 people attended the Johannesburg rally.
Official statistics released on Tuesday showed that the unemployment rate dropped marginally to 27.1 per cent in the last quarter of 2018 from 27.5 per cent in the previous quarter.
The drop was largely due to casual workers hired over the Christmas holiday period.
South Africa’s economy grew less than one per cent last year and is currently in the grip of its worst electricity cuts in years.
The continent’s largest energy utility Eskom, which has been plagued by debt and mismanagement, plunged the country into darkness this week with rotating black-outs imposed as demand outstripped supply.
COSATU has been a key ally of the ruling ANC party, which is seeking to revive its flagging popularity ahead of elections on May 8, when President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to retain power.
The Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, has accused the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government of increasing the unemployment rate in the country.
While addressing youths in Kwara State, Saraki blamed the unemployment problem on the alleged lack of economic knowledge by the current administration.
“It is only the President that knows how to create jobs that our youths want. The government cannot give all the youths jobs. How do youths get jobs all over the world?
“They get jobs because the government will allow people to set up businesses, people will set up factories, people that want to be entrepreneurs will be entrepreneurs. It’s not by the government.
“So anywhere that the President will have to bring people in, jobs will be created. For three and the half years, the highest number that we have seen since Nigeria started, of people that have not got jobs is under this government because ‘dem no sabi am’,” he said on Tuesday.
“If we look at the growth numbers that came out recently, 14% growth was in the oil sector, then we have insurance and some other areas where people are not employed.
“The sectors that employ people which are interest rate sectors are the ones that are actually slow and contracted; therefore I submit that if we don’t bring down interest rate (we have had 22 months of no change in interest rate) to stimulate and increase economic activity, then all of these things are going to…”
Rewane, who is also the Managing Director of Financial Derivatives Company Limited, stressed the importance of shifting focus from sectors that are growing but not creating jobs to the jobs-providing sectors.
“The underlined thing is that unemployment and underemployment has increased in all the three quarters that we have had positive growth. We have had higher unemployment. Therefore the sectors that are growing are not the ones that are employing.
“So we now have to shift emphasis and focus on areas where there is labour intensive activities, these people can create jobs.
“The unemployed man becomes a dysfunctional member of the society who disrupts, who kidnaps and that destroys everything,” he said.
The economists also noted that despite government’s noble intentions the impacts are not felt due to these impediments while Nigerians are eager to see results and impacts.
The Delta State Government has announced plans to establish a job and wealth creation empowerment law in the state.
The Governor, Mr Ifeanyi Okowa, made this known on Thursday during an exhibition and induction of over 700 trainees in Asaba, the state capital, under the Delta State Job Creation Scheme, which according to him will now become an annual event.
He said plans are underway to institutionalise the scheme so as to equip unemployed youths with the right physical and mental skills, as well as resources to become self-employed and employers of labour.
“In December we had a business fair specifically for our trainees and we hope to make it an annual event. The office of the chief job creation must begin to put the process in place for the 2018 edition,” he said.
Speaking further, he encouraged the newly inducted youths to build their network so as to expand their businesses and consequently make a positive impact on the economy of the state.
He also expressed hope that the programme is sustained long after he leaves office.
“Plans are on to present a Bill before the State House Of Assembly for the establishment of a Job and Wealth Creation Empowerment Law. “I hope that the programme continues in government even when I have left office. If we continue with it as a state, after 10 years the multiplier effect will be felt,” Okowa said.