Dr Dikko Umaru Radda, the Director-General, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency, on Friday urged authorities to tackle the nation’s alarming unemployment situation before it enters crisis level.
Randa made the call in Kaduna, during the inauguration of a sensitization programme on Young Business Owners in Nigeria in the North West Zone.
The D-G, who was represented by the North-West Zonal Coordinator of SMEDAN, Alhaji Ahmad Muhammad Madaki said the nation’s level of youths and women unemployment was into crisis level.
According to him, recent available data showed that only one out of every 100 graduates get employed by both the public and the private sector after graduation.
He said that if the situation was not properly tackle through deliberate measures with sufficient job creation, civil, social and political upheaval might ensue.
The SMEDAN boss noted that the global population of young people between the ages of 15 and 24 was rapidly on the increase with vast majority of that group living in emerging economies such Nigeria.
He said: “Hence the need to properly manage the group to yield positive demographic dividends rather than becoming a security burden.
“This is the surest way to diversify the economy and employ the huge youth population.”
According to the D-G, one of the major cases of unemployment in Nigeria is skill shortages occasioned by dearth of skilled personnel and entrepreneurial competence among others.
He said: “There is no doubt that unemployment situation in Nigeria has reached a crisis level.
“Statistics have shown that only one out every 100 graduates is assured of getting a job in Nigeria.
“It is toward addressing this challenge that SMEDAN has initiated the Young Business Owners in Nigeria programme.
“The programme is to provide a platform where existing entrepreneurs either as stand-alone or cooperative societies will be competitively selected for further support packages to reduce some of the fundamental challenges that usual confront MSMEs.
“Essentially, the target beneficiaries are young people between the ages of 20 to 45.
“The focus on this target is because of the need to create new opportunities for employment and enterprises growth which are usually not easily realiseable in start-ups.”
The D-G said that 460 business owners were supported with workspace in Anambra, Kebbi, Kogi, Cross River and Osun states through similar programme in 2018.
He said: “For 2019, three states have been selected as beneficiaries of the programme.
“They are Bayelsa, Ogun and Kaduna states, and this sensitisation programme is running concurrently in the three states.”
He said the programme was the first leg of the interventions and urged the over 100 participants to focus on the training, which had immense significance to the agency.
He said: “Your data will be captured in our databank and that will form the basis of all future interventions.”
The sensitisation programme in Kaduna State is taking place at two venues in Kaduna metropolis.