By Christiana Ekpa
The Senate, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and representatives have convened at a roundtable dialogue on the alarming rate of youth unemployment in the country.
The event which was attended by the President of the Senate, Principal Officers of the Senate, Senators and CSOs, according to a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the President of the Senate, Sanni Onogu, identified the root causes of unemployment in the country and ways to tackle the menace.
The session identified poor youth orientation and mindset, skills gap, unfocused education system, poor funding and lack of collaboration and synergy between government agencies responsible for employment generation and implementation of of government policies as some of the reasons responsible for the increasing unemployment rate in the country.
The session noted that there is a disconnect between among agencies championing the government’s programmes aimed at making the youth to embrace entrepreneurship and become self-employed.
According to the group, there is need to step up advocacy aimed at reorienting youths to develop the savings and ‘starting small’ culture.
They further noted that for real change to take place, the leaders of today need to show example in all their dealings for the youths to imbibe.
They insisted that since Rome was not build in a day, the youth of today have to be made to realize that they ought to be problem solvers rather than being the problem.
While increasing population was counted among factors leading high rate of unemployment, it was agreed that the nation’s population would be its greatest advantage if properly channeled into productive endeavour like agriculture.
Other suggestions aimed at tackling the rising unemployment rate included comprehensive land reforms, entrepreneurship training, releasing and monitoring of budgetary allocations to ensure they are used for intended purposes.
It was also suggested that the nation needs accurate data and demographics of its population to aid better planning and application of resources.
President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, in his opening remarks lamented that at present, adequate data and information that forms the basis of analysis and planning are difficult to obtain.
“This lack of data makes it difficult for policy makers to understand the nature of the unemployment challenge and make informed decisions on how to support young people in the labour market,” Saraki said.