Unemployment is one of the most severe social problems facing Nigeria today. It affects all members of society, from the young to the old, and has far-reaching consequences for the economy and national security. In this article, we will look at the effects of unemployment in Nigeria, its causes and some possible solutions to the problem.
Unemployment occurs when people who can work cannot find a suitable paid job for a tangible period of time. The population that falls within this gap are majorly the youth. Unfortunately, the government's efforts over the years seem to yield no fruits since the situation continues to deteriorate.
What are the problems of unemployment in Nigeria?
The country has an unemployment rate of about 33%, which means that about one in four Nigerians is unemployed. That is a very high unemployment rate, which means that many people in the country cannot find work. So why the high unemployment rate in Nigeria?
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- One reason is that the country has a large population. With a population record of as high as over 200 million, Nigeria remains the most populous country in Africa. This large population means that more people are looking for work than the available ones.
- Another reason unemployment is high in Nigeria is that the economy is not doing well. Nigeria's economy has been in a recession for the past few years, making it difficult for businesses to create new jobs. The recession has also made it difficult for people to find work because many businesses have had to reduce their workforce.
Causes and effects of unemployment in Nigeria
Runaway unemployment is a cause for concern in Nigeria. It is not only a drag on the economy but also a social problem. There are many factors responsible for unemployment in Nigeria, and some of them include:
- The high population growth rate in Nigeria: The population is growing faster than the economy, so there are not enough jobs.
- The lack of quality education and training: Many Nigerian youths are not adequately educated or trained for the available jobs.
- The corruption and red tape in the Nigerian government: The problem makes it difficult for businesses to operate and creates an environment that is not conducive to job creation.
- The high cost of living: The high cost of living makes it difficult for people to afford basic necessities, let alone save enough money to start their businesses.
- The insecurity in Nigeria: The insecurity in Nigeria makes it difficult for businesses to operate and also makes it unsafe for people to go out and look for jobs.
These are just some of the causes of unemployment in Nigeria. Many other factors contribute to this problem.
Consequences of unemployment in Nigeria
With over 33% unemployment rate, the country records one of the highest unemployment rates in the world. That has led to many social problems, such as:
- Political instability
Unemployment has also affected the economy. Nigeria's GDP has been declining for the past few years due to the high unemployment rate. The country's debt has also been increasing, as the government has had to borrow money to fund social programs.
The high unemployment rate has also led to a brain drain, as many Nigerians have left the country searching for opportunities elsewhere. That has further exacerbated the country's economic problems.
Unemployment and crime
The unemployment crisis in Nigeria has led to a situation where many Nigerians turn to crime in order to make ends meet. Below are ways in which unemployment can lead to crime.
- Unemployed individuals may turn to crime as a way to make money. That is often seen in cases of theft and robbery and in more sophisticated crimes such as fraud and embezzlement.
- Unemployment can lead to crime as a way to vent frustration and anger. Many unemployed individuals feel they have been dealt a raw deal in life and may lash out at society by engaging in criminal activity.
- It can also lead to crime as a way to gain status and respect. Many young people, in particular, feel they have nothing to lose by engaging in crime and treat it as a way to earn respect from their peers.
Unemployment and poverty
The huge unemployment problem has led Nigerian society to high levels of poverty. Unemployment causes poverty because when people are unemployed, they do not have any money coming in.
This means they cannot afford to buy food, rent, or even transportation. As a result, they find themselves living in poverty. Unemployment can also lead to mental and physical health problems, worsening poverty.
The most appropriate way to discontinue the cycle of poverty is to create jobs. When more Nigerians are employed, they will have money to spend, boosting the economy.
Unemployment and political instability
One of the most damaging effects of unemployment is political instability. Large numbers of people out of work can lead to social unrest and, in extreme cases, revolution. Nigeria is a prime example of how unemployment can lead to political instability.
Coups and uprisings have plagued the country for decades, most of which can be traced back to high unemployment rates. It only takes a slight provocation to escalate political instability in a country like Nigeria, where the young population is unemployed and frustrated.
The most recent example is the protests that rocked the country in 2020 because of the proposed hike in fuel prices. The protests quickly turned into a nationwide movement against the government. The protesters' drive was anger because of the country's high unemployment and poverty, hence the demand for change.
Solutions to unemployment in Nigeria
Even amid the deteriorating unemployment problem in Nigeria, it is not all lost. However, by putting in relentless efforts, the government can turn around the situation even though gradually.
What steps should the government take to reduce unemployment?
Some of the solutions that the government can focus on to help solve the unemployment crisis are:
- Raise the retirement age: One possible solution to unemployment in Nigeria is to raise the retirement age. That would see a higher number of people remaining in the workforce longer and hence alleviating the clog in the social security system.
- Encourage entrepreneurship: The government can reduce taxes and regulations on businesses, provide entrepreneurs training and support, and improve financing access.
- Invest in education and training: Investing in education can help improve the workforce's skills and make them more competitive in the global economy.
- Improve infrastructure: The government can achieve this by prioritizing public transportation, telecommunications, and energy investment.
- Promote economic growth: The government can do this by deregulation, tax reform, and improving the business environment.
What are the effects of youth unemployment in Nigeria?
Youth unemployment has terrible psychological and financial effects on both the individual and society as a whole. Youth unemployment in Nigeria has a number of negative consequences, including a rise in militancy, violent crimes, kidnappings, restlessness, and socially irresponsible behaviour.
What are the main causes of unemployment in Nigeria?
Corruption, neglect of agricultural and other natural resources, poor quality education, a lack of working skills, overpopulation, inflation, and a decrease in economic value are the key reasons for unemployment in Nigeria.
What are the solutions to unemployment in Nigeria?
Some remedies to unemployment include reforming the country's educational system, developing infrastructure, empowering youngsters to work for themselves, and making resources more freely available.
How does unemployment increase the poverty rate?
When people are unemployed, they may be unable to afford to pay for their basic needs. That can lead to them becoming homeless or going without food and other necessities.
Unemployment is a major problem in Nigeria that needs urgent addressing. The government should prioritize implementing policies that encourage entrepreneurship. These are policies such as investing in education and training and improving infrastructure. These solutions will help to create jobs and reduce poverty. Additionally, the government must promote economic growth to boost the economy and create more jobs. Only then can the country begin to address the effects of unemployment in Nigeria.
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The government uses cash from oil extraction to fund practically all developing sectors, infrastructure, and so on. Furthermore, the sector employs millions of Nigerians and has significantly improved people's living standards.