Much Ado About Job Creation



Since September 2010, President Goodluck Jonathan has been making promises about creating jobs for the teeming unemployed graduates but such promises have turned out to be mere rhetoric as nothing significant has come out of them.

While declaring to contest the presidency under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on 18 September 2010, President Jonathan said: “we will fight to create jobs for all Nigerians.” He hinted that 600,000 jobs would be created with the take off of the N15 trillion gas project. Then, in April 2011 just before the presidential election, Jonathan again promised during the presidential debate, which turned out to be a monologue (since other candidates shunned the debate), that one million jobs would be created, also from the new gas project.

It was as if the gas project was the magic wand with which the president would create jobs for the nation’s youths, yet that has not materialised almost two years after the 2010 promise. Another yarn the president spun to pull the wool over the eyes of the people is the creation of employment through the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Scheme, SURE. He came up with this as a palliative measure after the sudden and controversial removal of petrol subsidy in January this year.

He promised to create 74,000 jobs through SURE. Right now, nobody is sure if the so-called SURE programme has had any impact on job creation for the youths.

On Workers’ Day, May 1, this year, Jonathan again promised to create 3.5 million jobs from the agricultural sector by 2015. It remains to be seen how far he can go. But we doubt his sincerity, given his past promises that were never kept.

The government has no business creating jobs. All it needs to do is create an enabling environment for a thriving economy and everything will fall into place.

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Where there is no electricity to power manufacturing plants, how could entrepreneurs remain in business when they incur huge overhead cost brought about by reliance on electricity generating plants, with the attendant retrenchment of their workers?

The government also keeps making empty promises about fixing the dismal electricity supply situation and the economy continues to remain in the doldrums. The poor electricity supply has killed small-scale industries that employ millions of people.

To compound the situation is the growing state of insecurity across the country. Poverty and the lack of jobs are at the root of the security challenges the nation is facing today. No investor would want to take the risk of investing in a hostile environment as is the case today in Nigeria.

The government should stop putting the cart before the horse. It cannot promise to create jobs without making the environment conducive for businesses to thrive.

Government should fix the dilapidated infrastructure before it could meaningfully expect job creation to take place or else all the chest-thumping about creating millions of jobs from all sectors of the nation’s economy would remain the mirage which we have lived with since September 2010 when Jonathan has been mouthing such rhetoric at every public function.

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