Nigeria’s unemployment crises again came to the fore early this week as a total of 25.6 million applications passed through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) recruitment portal before it formally closed Tuesday.
Report has it that the 25.6 million applications was mind boggling to both NNPC management and the Federal Government as it further painted the picture of the magnitude of the country’s unemployment challenge.
This was coming as data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show Nigeria’s unemployment crisis worsened in the third quarter of 2018 (Q3,2018), as it rose from 18.8 per cent in Q3 2017 to 23.1 per cent in the third quarter of 2018, according to labour report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The NBS data revealed further that the total number of people classified as unemployed-which means they did nothing at all or worked for a few hours (under 20 hours a week) rose from 17.6 million in Q4 2017 to 20.9 million in Q3 2018.
On March 13, 2018, NNPC began massive recruitment drive to fill various positions at the graduate trainees senior officers, supervisory and managerial cadres with the opening of its recruitment portal.
Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of NNPC, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, had said the move was part of efforts to enhance productivity.
Commenting, Head of Tax and Corporate Advisory Services at PwC Nigeria, Mr. Taiwo Oyedele, said the combination of unemployment and underemployment figures in the region of about 40 per cent was responsible for the upsurge in applications, adding that some of the applicants are already employed but are seeking better opportunities.
He maintained that until government begins to take practical steps to grow the Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), the over 40 million unemployed youth figure will continue to ballon.
He said there are over 30 million MSMEs in Nigeria lacking the right monetary policies to access finance and vocational training which may enable them expand and employ the over 30 million job seekers in the category.
He said NNPC may not employ up to one per cent of the application received which he said may be about 1,000 people or less, stressing that the remaining number returns to the labour market.
‘‘We hope that NNPC deploys merit because in the absence of that, you see all manner of list coming from politicians and the big men in Nigeria to take up the slots and at the end of the day, the purpose would be defeated,’’ he said.
For his part, Managing Director Cowry Assets Limited, Mr. Johnson Chukwu, said the figure should not surprise Nigerians because the public sector has not carried out a major recruitment exercise in the last four years, hence the pressure on NNPC. Chukwu said a rise in the country’s unemployment figure from 18.8 percent in 2017 to 23.1 in 2018, translating to about 80 million unemployed youths could have been responsible for the NNPC application figure.
He said to reduce the unemployment figure, Nigeria needs to grow the economy at about 10 percent, by coming up with specific industrial policy which will aid growth.