Entrepreneur Paper 9: Role of Government Continued
The new deal for Creating Jobs
I have strongly said that we must get the basics right is we are to rebuild our Nation. There are several issues that point to this. First of all we need to give the youths of Nigeria a sense of belonging so we need to take some bold steps to make this happen. Second we need to implement strategies that work for Job creation across the board. And we are talking about Job creation in the private sector and not in Government agencies. The only Government tied jobs we are interested in are the jobs created as a result of government spending on projects that are domiciled in the private sector. We expect that Government contracts and procurement can be easily tied to job creation for our millions of young people that need the jobs and the opportunities. We most importantly need an anchor at the Federal Cabinet level that will drive this process forward. We also need an anchor at the State level that will compliment what is done on the federal level. I strongly advocate and suggest that we should move into the 21st century. The labor and employment strategy in Nigeria is done upside down. We have an inefficient Ministry of Labor and Productivity that is designed with solutions to our old problems in mind. So you have Labor relations, Industrial Relations, Union Services all as special departments and headings in that Ministry of Labor. You also have the Social Trust Fund, Wages Inspectorate, and Productivity Centre as agencies or departments as well. The only agency that is designed to solve a modern problem that is facing us today is the National Directorate of Employment NDE, which is targeted at creating new jobs. However even though it is called the NDE it is operating in an old school way which means that is not likely to make even a small dent in the unemployment crisis in Nigeria any time soon.
The solution is that we need to find the courage to get rid of institutions and operations that are not working and replace them with what is needed in today’s economy. I have always said that the number one problem in Nigeria is UNEMPLOYMENT. We know that all our kidnapping, terrorism, and violent crimes are as a result of youth unemployment. So we as a NATION must not only be seen to be focused on tackling the unemployment crisis we must actually get the job done. We will however need a driver. And my humble suggestion is that we need a Ministry of Job Creation, Employment and Entrepreneurship at the Federal Government level as well as at all State levels.
A Federal and State Ministry of Job Creation, Employment and Entrepreneurship
The present Federal Ministry of Labor and Productivity has a number of departments. As I have said the most visible of all its department is the Trade Union Services and Industrial Relations; Employment and Wages Inspectorate. This can be placed under the presidency with the direct supervision of a Special Adviser to the President. In turn the following departments could stay with the new ministry: National Institute for Labor Studies (MINILS), Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), National Directorate of Employment (NDE), National Productivity Center (NPC), National Industrial Court and Industrial Arbitration Panel. The most important aspect of the new ministry will be to refocus its efforts on Job creation. The new Ministry can thus be held responsible for all major Job creation initiatives to be run by the Federal or State governments. In particular the Federal Ministry of Job Creation should be focused on the following
Identifying all the Job creation opportunities in the national economy and taking concrete steps to make sure that Nigerians are given the chances to participate in these opportunities
Making sure that all Federal and State Government spending is contributing to job creation. So every contract, every procurement, every supply, every government fund is working towards creating jobs for the Nigerian people, wherever they may be.
Making sure that all industries in Nigeria, from Entertainment, to transportation to Aviation to oil and gas, have a Job Creation strategy which is driven as policy of the Federal and State Government.
Making sure that all laws in Nigeria are amended in line to favor Job creation in Nigeria. Some of our laws are our dated and are anti job creation in Nigeria.
Creating partnerships with the Private sector and the international community to develop Job creation opportunities for Nigerians.
Providing a holistic training and capacity building benchmark, standards and certification criteria for the entire Government to ensure that all job training and opportunities are carried out in a standardized and opportunities tied manner.
To develop policy for incentives for the private sector to create more jobs for Nigerians on a continuous basis.
To seek and develop other opportunities for Job creation and Employment in the national economy
To support the development and the creation of new entrepreneurs in every industry in Nigeria, and do this by working with financing institutions, skills and other support structures
The creation of this new Ministry goes far beyond the line items I have listed here. In fact the most important attribute of the creation of the Federal Ministry of Job Creation, Employment and Entrepreneurship will be what it says to the Nigerian Youth population. The young people will feel a strong sense of belonging and that ministry will be a big hit. If the President or any Governor sets an agenda for the creation of new jobs in the economy there will now be a ministry that will take ownership of that agenda. As I was recently a member of the Presidential Jobs board, I can tell you that having a ministry with a direct responsibility for carrying out the directives and suggestions of the board was a big problem. The Presidential Jobs board is made up of Private sector and Government officials providing strategic advice to the Federal Government for the purposes of creating jobs in the national economy. It was chaired by the Vice President, but the drive came from the Federal Ministry of Trade, investment and Industries. This I believe was largely because these was no cabinet level anchor for Job Creation in the administration of Goodluck Jonathan. In all my meetings at the Vice president’s office, I never witnessed the attendance of the Minister of Labor, which I believe was largely due to the fact that the mindset of the Labor and Productivity Ministry is that old mind set of managing the current workers of Government and not a mindset of creating new workers by creating new jobs for the national economy. This is kind of drive and thinking is missing at the Cabinet level.
When a the Federal Government creates a Ministry of Job Creation, Employment and Entrepreneurship and the State Governments follow suit, we will be well on our way to building the environment on the national level of Job creation and employment across the board.
Opportunities for Job Creation
Every time I go to bed I wake up with new ideas of job creation in Nigeria. I have so many ideas for Job creation in Nigeria alone, I sometimes think I am losing my mind. I wish our Government officials will show some seriousness about job creation and then organizations such as ours can support the process of Job creation with some of the ideas we have been sitting on for a while
A few of the ideas for Job creation for Federal and State Governments
Data Gathering and Processing Agents; There are several agencies in Government that use ad hock staff for gathering data from time to time. The last agency to so this was INEC. INEC uses teachers and NYSC corpers from time to time as Election or returning officers at the ward level. In addition other agencies such as the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, the National Bureau of Statistics, and the National Population Commission equally will use these data gathering agents from time to time. We spent so much money in training different people every year to carry out what is effectively the same kind of work. What we need is for young people to be trained as data gathering agents once and for all and these people once certified can be retained by all the agencies of Government that need their services. This is a unique Entrepreneurship Venture which the Federal Government can implement and provide over on hundred thousand jobs. We can create 500,000 micro entrepreneurs if we adopt this strategy.
Land Rent Agents; Lagos seems to be the only State in Nigeria that is serious about collecting its land rent. I believe that there is opportunity for the creation of at least 36,000 new jobs at the state level if all states will take up the gullet of fixing their land rent collection. And these young agents can be trained and deployed to educate, inform and encourage the payment of these taxes all over the country.
Solar Panel Installers; this is already a global revolution, solar panels are being used to power homes and schools off the grid. We need to embrace the future and train our young people to provide this service and then get about installing solar panels on roofs at homes and schools so that we can solve two problems at once. We solve the short term needs of electricity for the population, however we also create a new industry much like the entertainment industry in which young people can dominate, and create jobs for themselves.
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