The Senate, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and representatives of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on Monday convened a roundtable to identify the roots cause of the alarming rate of youth unemployment in the country and ways to tackle it.
The event which was attended by the President of the Senate, Principal Officers of the Senate, Senators and CSOs, according to a statement by the Chief Press Secretary identified poor youth orientation and mindset, skills gap, unfocused education system, poor funding and lack of collaboration and synergy between government agencies responsible for employment generation and implementation of of government policies as some of the reasons responsible for the increasing unemployment rate in the country.
The session noted that there is a disconnect between among agencies championing the government’s programmes aimed at making the youth to embrace entrepreneurship and become self-employed.
While increasing population was counted among factors leading high rate of unemployment, it was agreed that the nation’s population would be its greatest advantage if properly channeled into productive endeavour like agriculture.
Other suggestions aimed at tackling the rising unemployment rate included comprehensive land reforms, entrepreneurship training, releasing and monitoring of budgetary allocations to ensure they are used for intended purposes, accurate data and demographics to aid better planning and application of resources.
President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, in his opening remarks lamented that at present, adequate data and information that forms the basis of analysis and planning are difficult to obtain.
“This lack of data makes it difficult for policy makers to understand the nature of the unemployment challenge and make informed decisions on how to support young people in the labour market,” Saraki said.
The Senate, Saraki stated, decided to undertake the youth unemployment challenge by inviting the frontline program implementers and organizations to better understand how their missions are tested by the development needs of young people.
He noted that the roundtable was not not intended to be an oversight hearing.
“Oversight is the domain of Senate Committees. This roundtable is more of a fact-finding and information download from our panelists?” he said.
” A major takeaway from today is that it is clear that there is a disconnect between those that are implementing youth development and empowerment programs and what is happening on the street,” the President of the Senate said.