With a total of 22.4 million Nigerians unemployed or under‐employed out of 76.9 million total labour force, Worldstage Economic Summit (WES) 2016 coming up in Lagos from September 7- 8, 2016 is expected to address the unemployment challenge in African biggest economy.
According to Mr. Segun Adeleye, President/CEO, World Stage Limited, ‘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 the 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 compared 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 on 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 shapes the labour market, which would 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 hands 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, heads of regulatory agencies, CEOs of public corporations, top officials 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 could be addressed with the right concept of how to explore economic potential 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 Governments have dropped drastically with most states now finding it almost impossible to pay workers’ salaries. This has become one of the greatest challenges facing the 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.
The expected participants at the summit are drawn from 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.