With a total of 22.4 million Nigerians unemployed or under‐employed out of the 76.9 million total labour force, Worldstage Economic Summit (WES) 2016 (http://worldstagegroup.com/wes/) will be hosted in Lagos between September 7- 8, 2016 to address the unemployment challenges in the African biggest economy.
According to Mr Segun Adeleye, President/CEO, World Stage Limited (www.worldstagegroup.com), the organisers, “The alarming rate of unemployment in Nigeria is not only of great concern to the three tiers of government, but also to the private sector and other critical stakeholders of the economy on job creation. While some people see it as an indictment on the educational system that seems to be churning out ‘unemployable graduates’ it is also being seen as an economic deficiency, with economy having a limitation of the labour force it can sustain by its productivity.”
He said Nigeria’s unemployment rate of 10.4% represents about 14 percent of global unemployment in fourth quarter 2015, the 7th highest in the world with only Kenya, Congo and Djibouti having worse rates in Africa.
“This should be embarrassing when compare with countries such as Qatar (0.2%) unemployment rate, Cambodia (0.3%), Belarus (0.5%), Thailand (0.8%), Benin (1.0%), Madagascar (1.2%), Laos (1.40%) and Guinea Bissau (1.80%),” he said.
He said the statistics that job loss in Nigeria dropped by only 1.29% in Q4 2015 at a period when oil price crashed by 65% could only show that there are other inherent factors outside oil that shape the labour market, which will be reviewed at the summit.
On how an economic summit can address unemployment challenges, he said, “We are in an era where Nigeria’s economic problem can no longer be left in the hand of government to fix alone. There are organisations and experts that have the knowledge of how to solve economic challenges of any kind, but in most cases, they are either not talking at the right forum, or they are not being heard. At WES 2016, the government side is going to be represented by ministers, members of the National Assembly, head of regulatory agencies, CEOs of public corporations, top official from state governments; and they will be interacting with representatives of the organised private sector along with local and foreign experts, to discuss series of the sub-themes through which the problem of unemployment in Nigeria will be tackled.”
He made reference to the challenges facing state governments to the extent that they can no longer pay salaries as at when due, saying these can be addressed with the right concept of how to explore economic potentials to create private sector jobs.
“With about 65 per cent drop in oil price since 2014, Nigeria’s main source of income, the revenue allocations to the Federal Government, States and the Local Government have dropped drastically with most states now finding it almost impossible to pay workers’ salaries. This has become one of the greatest challenges facing Nigerian economy, as the elected governments are becoming aware that they may not be able to deliver the electoral promises and dividend of democracy if an urgent solution is not found,” he said.
“Besides providing knowledge base for government on how to save billions of naira in revenue, diversify economy, create jobs and end the practice of committing the largest portion of income to the payment of civil servants’ salaries, WES 2016 will help review the economic potentials of the states and arrive at sustainable development strategy for them to be economically viable with or without revenue from federation account.”
He listed the objectives of WES 2016 to include: To identify and proffer solutions to the growing unemployment problem in the public and private sectors of Nigerian economy; To identify the employment generation potentials of every sector of the economy from ICT, Maritime, banking & finance, mining, aviation, construction, oil and gas and others and then address what they need to realise the full potential; To connect new entrepreneurs with financiers and skilled workers for them to be at the driving seat of job creation; To connect employers with job seekers and enhance migration of skills across all sectors; To generate a national unemployment data bank; To assist government on policies to make the economy productive, global competitive and generate jobs; To help review the economic potentials of the states and arrive at sustainable development strategy for them to be economically viable with or without revenue from federation account; To provide knowledge base for government on how to save billions of naira in revenue, diversify economy, create jobs and end the practice of committing the largest portion of income to the payment of civil servants’ salaries.
On how WES 2016 will not end like others past summits at home and abroad with nothing to show for them, he said, “When one deploys a conventional solution to a problem, the result will still be the same old story. It’s easy for government agencies to announce that they want to create thousands or millions of jobs, but how they will do it is very critical, and has to be tested to be sure that they are on the right track. They will need the right knowledge base to achieve it and carry other stakeholders along. Governments and institutions have to invest in time and knowledge to think outside the box on how to address economic challenges, and when the solutions are found, they have to try all possible best to apply them to achieve desirable result. What is unique about WES is that it’s research driven. If the obstacle to job creation in a particular sector of the economy has to do with legislature, the National Assembly Committees involved will be at the WES 2016 and will be made to understand what is expected of them and why they must act fast. The WSE will then do the necessary following up on all resolutions of the summit to ensure that they are not thrown into the dustbin.”
The expected participants at the summit include the Presidency, National Assembly, MGAs, State Governments, OPS- Oil and Gas, Banking, Insurance, Maritime, Aviation, Mining, Agriculture, Hospitality & Tourism, Entertainment, Construction, Power, ICT, Education, Transportation, Local and Foreign Investors, Media and Other Relevant Stakeholders.
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