Friday, September 14, 2012

How to Create Millions of Jobs for Millions of Jobless Nigerians

How to Create Millions of Jobs for Millions of Jobless Nigerians

It is frightening that over 33 million Nigerians are jobless according to the. National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The fears of the uncertain future of these multitudes of unemployed Nigerians who are mostly youths should trouble the mind of every concerned citizen of Nigeria, because they are easy recruits for the gangs of armed robbers, drug and human traffickers, kidnappers, prostitutes, terrorists and other dysfunctional humans of the lunatic fringe destroying lives and properties in the country.

Al Jazeera also raised the dangers of millions of jobless Nigerians in Nigeria: the young and the jobless: Nigeria grapples with increasing unemployment and a growing population.

Are these millions of Nigerians jobless, because there are no jobs or they are not employable?

Employers in the formal sector complain that many of the graduates of Nigerian tertiary institutions are unemployable!
“They just have degrees without skills and we have to spend more money and time to retrain them for the jobs in banks, insurance companies and oil companies,” said a HR Consultant.

This problem is caused by the collapse of the infrastructure of higher education in Nigeria and the falling standards have forced over 100, 000 Nigerians to prefer Ghanaian tertiary institutions at an annual cost of over N160 billion which is more than Nigeria’s annual budget for education in 2011!

Then 800 companies have been shut down in Nigeria due to harsh and insecure operating environment according to the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA). Of course the employees of the affected companies are included in the 33 million jobless Nigerians. But again, it is really questionable if 33 million Nigerians are jobless in an economy heavily based on the informal sector, because many of those who cannot be employed in the formal sector are often having occupations in the informal sector. In fact the informal sector contributes more to manpower of the Nigerian economy than the formal sector. The hundreds of thousands of traders in the market and on the street, the thousands of artisans in the nooks and crannies of every community, the thousands of farmers in the rural areas without any registered business name but are still supplying food crops and cash crops to feed the Nigerian population from the Niger Delta to Lake Chad and millions of others engaged in different occupations to make ends meet make up the informal sector and without them, the economy will collapse.

For the millions who are still jobless and have become the liabilities of those with jobs, what are we going to do?
Any jobless person is a liability of the family, community and society at large.
What is the government doing to end the embarrassment and predicament of millions of jobless Nigerians?

The administration of President Goodluck Jonathan launched the laudable Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YouWiN) competition aimed at job creation by encouraging and supporting aspiring entrepreneurial youth in Nigeria to develop and execute business ideas. But how many jobs can the lucky 1,200 YouWiN! Awardees create after they were celebrated at the Presidential Villa on April 12, 2012?
I doubt if they can even create up 500, 000 jobs within a year?
The government should publish a list of all their startups and the numbers of jobs they can create to address the emergency of the estimated 33 million jobless hungry and angry Nigerians who are threatening the peace and stability of the rest of the citizens.

I have never been jobless, because I refused to be jobless by attending free workshops for self employment and created jobs for myself. Whenever I could not get a regular job in the formal sector, I always joined those in the informal sector. I have sold books from office to office and from street to street on Bonny Island in Rivers State and earned over N1, 000 daily and later employed a young school leaver to sell books and magazines for me at the Tejuosho Market in Lagos, Nigeria.
It would be good to let you know more about my professional background.
Now, let me address this problem from my own perspective and experience.

At age 17 I earned my first salary as a TV drama puppeteer for the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Channel 10, Lagos. At 21, I got another job as a public health illustrator for the Johns Hopkins University’s Population Communication Services (JHU/PCS) now Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs. At 24, I was employed as the Arts Editor of Kiddies World magazine with an office in the high rising Western House on Broad Street and at 25 I got another job as a national Program Consultant with United Nations Children's Fund – UNICEF in Nigeria and also got other formal jobs afterwards. My last salary job was as the Production Manager of Money Wise, an independent business magazine on DBN TV in Lagos, Nigeria, and I resigned in 2000 to register and launch my own King of Kings Books International with a seed grant from Dr. Mike Okonkwo, the Presiding Bishop of the Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM) when I was still under 38. I have added another duly incorporated digital news and information media network and an open air cinema company to take cinemas to every conducive and receptive community in Nigeria.

Millions of Nigerians who are jobless are either lazy or ignorant of the numerous opportunities and possibilities in Nigeria, because there are millions of jobs for millions of jobless Nigerians.

Where are the millions of jobs?
Let me show you where they are.

Look at many of the thousands of goods imported into Nigeria from overseas?
Many of them can be produced by jobless Nigerians!

Do you know how many millions of Duvet Covers, Duvets, Bedspreads and pillowcases are imported annually in Nigeria?

Do you know that millions of middle class and upper class Nigerians use Duvets and each one is sold between N5, 000 and N12, 000?
Do you know how many billions of naira we spend on the annual importation of these products?

Do you know that Nigerians can produce them from local textile materials?
The local textile materials of Adinkra, Adire, Aso oke, Kente and Batik made by local folks in the rural areas are very good for making the following imported goods.

• Duvets
• All Seasons Duvets
• Pillows
• Pillow Protectors
• Mattress Protectors
• Mattress Toppers
• Duvet Covers
• Fitted Sheets
• Flat Sheets
• Pillowcases
• Valances

Unemployed Nigerians can start Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in their respective local government areas to make bed linens, duvets, duvet covers, valances and pillowcases for homes, dormitories and hostels all over Nigeria. Ghanaian entrepreneurs are already doing so and even exporting bed sheets and pillowcases to countries overseas. There are over 10 million Nigerians in the Diaspora who will appreciate using made in Nigeria duvets, pillowcases, bed sheets, valances, curtains etc; of local textile materials of Adinkra, Adire, Aso oke, Kente and Batik.

Jobs will be created for thousands of textile designers, textile print-makers, packers, tailors, suppliers and traders in every community in Nigeria and export them to Nigerians and others overseas.

View the video of cottage industries in China from where thousands of products are imported into Nigeria.

There are also more jobs waiting for young school leavers in the book industry.
What kinds of jobs are available for school leavers in the book industry?
Book distribution is a major headache in Nigeria and that is why they say that Nigerians don’t read. That is why President Goodluck Jonathan launched the Bring Back the Book campaign to attract majority of Nigerians to appreciate reading not only to pass academic and professional examinations, but for their pleasure, intellectual development and general enlightenment.

Book pirates make millions of naira from the literary works of others. But book publishers and book sellers can stop them by simply investing more money and time on book distribution from the traditional book stores to the streets, by taking books to their target readers in their homes and workplaces.

A diligent young school leaver can sell between 30 to 100 copies of a book daily at motor parks and markets where readers can be found among the crowds of travelers at the motor parks and among the traders and buyers in every local market. This was how the popular Onitsha Market Literature flourished in the good old days and helped in the cultivation of the buoyant reading culture of the 1960s and 70s when both children and adults in Nigeria bought and read story books in millions of copies.
The book industry in the United States of America generates over $20 billion annually and the Nigerian book industry can generate billions of dollars if there is good book distribution.

Book sellers or book distributors should employ young school leavers of employment age as book vendors to sell books at motor parks, offices, clubs and local markets. 1, 000 book vendors can sell up to 1, 000, 000 copies of books monthly.
There are other opportunities for job creation and self employment for millions of jobless Nigerians to produce thousands of products that we have been spending millions of dollars importing overseas. These products can be made in Nigeria by Nigerians for Nigerians and foreigners in Nigeria and other countries. So, let us start creating jobs from these opportunities and stop whining about the failures of the government to provide jobs for millions of jobless Nigerians.

~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima, author of Children of Heaven, Sleepless Night, Scarlet Tears of London, Bye, Bye Mugabe, In the House of Dogs and other books and Publisher/Editor of Nigerians Report, Nigerian Times, TALK OF THE TOWN and other infotainment websites.

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