Expert says deficient infrastructure, education curriculum responsible for unemployment amidst growing economy

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ABUJA – A lecturer at the Nasarawa State University, Dr Uche Uwaleke, has identified deficiency in infrastructure and education curriculum as factors for high unemployment rate in spite of growing economy in the country.

Uwaleke, an associate Professor of Finance, stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday.

Uwaleke said that the Nigerian economy growth, as measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP), had witnessed remarkable growth rates on the average in the last decade, relative to those of many countries in the world.

He, however, noted that the economic growth had not translated into job creation for the teeming population.

“ It is equally a fact that unlike reported growths in some economies, that of Nigeria has been largely the case of growth without development or what some have termed jobless growth’’.

He said that the unemployment situation had resulted into increasing crime rates and social crises from a large population of unemployed youths.

He said deficiency in education curriculum, especially at the tertiary level, placed emphasis on theory, with very little practical components.

He said this had resulted into disconnect between the higher education knowledge and the labour markets, resulting in the production of unemployable graduates.
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He also attributed the unemployment rate to inadequate infrastructural facilities, especially power, noting that non availability of power hindered the growth of businesses in the country.

“It is common knowledge that many companies have closed down while several others have relocated to neighbouring countries such as Ghana due to the epileptic power supply in Nigeria,’’ he said

According to him, inadequate support to micro and small businesses in the area of funding and access to credit also accounts for the high unemployment situation.

He further said that government intervention to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) was not enough to empower the operators of such businesses.

“The reality is that government interventions in this area have not been substantial.

“`For example, the Bank of Industry is not making the desired impact due largely to weak capital base at just N250 billion, ’’ he said.

He said that the inability of the government to invest more in capital expenditure over the years with potential for job creation, was another factor responsible for unemployment.

“ Over the years, recurrent expenditure has taken a huge chunk of the national budget at the expense of capital expenditure with potentials for job creation,’’ he noted.

According to him, the phenomenon of corruption in the system has encouraged capital flight, depriving the country of the much needed funds for development and job creation.

“ Misappropriated public funds are hardly invested in Nigeria but stashed away in foreign banks.’’

The don, who acknowledged the efforts of the Federal Government in reduction of unemployment in the country, however, said it needed to do more.

“A number of measures have been put in place to address the problem of unemployment in recent times, including the YOUWIN programme, the Subsidy Re-investment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P).

“Again, N220 billion funds were earmarked by CBN for SMEs, unfortunately these measures are not capable of accommodating the 1.8 million people who enter the labour market yearly,’’ he said. (NAN)

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