Nigeria Thursday commissioned the World Bank-financed Global Distance Learning Institute (GDLI) with Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala announcing that the nation has a total of 5.3 million people unemployed.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala explained that the new global institute would help the Nigerian government’s push to create jobs and push down the number of the unemployed in Nigeria.
The institute, built with US$20 million soft loan from the World Bank, is one of the 12 developed worldwide by the World Bank to give quality education and create job opportunities.
According to the Minister, “5.3 million people are unemployed in the country and they have accumulated through the years. It didn’t start this year. It didn’t start last year. It has been happening. Part of the reason is that we didn’t even know how many people who are coming into our labour market each year. The problem we have in this country is that job creation has been an issue for quite some time. Therefore, we had a backlog of unemployed people already sitting.”
“We know that about 1.8m people enter the labour market every year. We also know that we have created 1.6 million jobs so far. Yet, we haven’t yet met the mark on the number of entrants. There is still a gap of 200,000 plus the 5.3 million existing in the pool of unemployed. That’s why even though the government is making every effort; people are not feeling the impact.”
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala stated the best service the federal government can do to honour the memory of the 16 unemployed Nigerians who died during a Nigerian Immigration Service recruitment stampede was to create more jobs for the teaming population.
She added that “the Federal Government really understand the way the young people in this country feels and is committed to creating more jobs. The focus of this government and the reason why we created this centre is creating jobs. It is part of our dream, part of vision in this government that this centre should be productive.
“It is quite a pity that it took this long to get it going and equip it, but like they say “better late than never. Let us honour our young people by dragging relentlessly through centres like this in moulding their skills, through training them up with private sector and engaging the private sector in this job because government alone cannot do it.”
She also noted that the Federal Government, through the YouWin programme, have been able to create about 27,000 jobs, adding “That is why we have the YouWin programme that the President launched two years ago; those young people have already created 27,000 jobs. They created it not for themselves, but for others.”
She noted that the institute have recruited over 200 Nigerians in the diaspora who wish to participate in capacity building in Nigeria to be part of the faculty in the institute.
Speaking on how the institute would help its student to crate jobs, she said “we have set up career zones — a career zone is a platform that do allow students who have studies in whatever discipline, we evaluate them to know what their deficiencies are because most of them must of them are coming out and not ready and we have tools for doing that. Once we evaluate that then we put them in a programme that allow them to learn what it take to get a job.
In her remark, the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, stated that Nigeria has standard educational facilities in the country, beckoning Nigerians to stop traveling to Ghana to acquire education.
Said Dabiri-Erewa: “Nigeria has a proper facility for education here. I don’t know why they are running to Ghana for their study. Ghana does not have the type of facilities we have here in Nigeria for study. So, Nigerians should stop going to Ghana for their studies.”