Tony John, Port Harcourt
The Executive Secretary of Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Engr. Simbi Wabote, disclosed that records from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) indicate 16 million Nigerians currently unemployed.
Wabote spoke on Thursday as a guest speaker in a programme organized by the Institute of Directors (IOD) in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
He noted that the number of unemployed people in the country was the total population of three African countries: Sierra Leone, Togo and Liberia put together.
Speaking on the topic ‘Addressing unemployment: Local Content as an option’, the Executive Secretary of the agency revealed that Nigerian tertiary institutions churn out 500,000 graduates yearly without meaningful jobs waiting for them.
He pointed out that Local Content policy could be used to address unemployment in the country, regretting that Nigeria is the only country that produces crude oil but imports petroleum products.
Speaking further, he identified agriculture as a major employer of labour in the country, saying that Nigerians and government have not realized the value chains in the sector.
Engr. Wabote charged the IoD to use their skills understand the unemployment challenge in the country, advising them to “think globally, but act locally.”
Earlier, the Director General and Chief Executive Officer of IoD Nigeria, Mr. Dele Alimi, said that Rivers State is the wealth of the nation, and if local content policy is entrenched, it would bring about good corporate governance beneficial to members of the public.
In his welcome address, the Chairman, Port Harcourt Zone of IoD, Sir Innocent Harry, called on government and corporate organisations to proffer solutions to tackle the unemployment crisis the country is confronted with.