Governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have vowed to find a lasting solution to unemployment in the country.
Gov. Rochas Okorocha of Imo made the pledge in Ibadan at the Progressive Governors Forum, convened by APC to address the issue of unemployment in the country.
Delivering a paper entitled “Visioning Progressive Governance’’, Okorocha said that the current unemployment situation in Nigeria was unacceptable.
“Unemployment rate in Nigeria is a danger to the social, economic and political stability of the country. It also impacts negatively on our ambition as a new Nigeria; after all, how can Nigeria, with over 20 million youths who have no jobs, and millions of several others wasting away, claimed that we want to be a major power in the comity of nations,’’ he asked.
Okorocha, who said that Nigeria could no longer remain insensitive to issues of unemployment, stated that the gathering was aimed at working out tangible and workable proposals that would make immediate impact on job creation.
He said that the lecture on unemployment was expected to take place quarterly.
Dr. Ayo Teriba, Chief Executive Officer, Economic Associates, attributed the problem to the inability to measure the nation’s unemployment rate.
“Until we know the facts about unemployment in a timely manner, no one can tell how our well-meaning attempts to solve other problems, such as tightening monetary policy stance to achieve lower inflation in short term,
“Selecting a fanciful oil benchmark that is lower than required to enable nominal government keep pace with the GDP to save for the rainy day, we only serve to make an already ugly unemployment situation uglier,’’ he said.
Teriba said it was little surprise that unemployment rate increased threefold in the last 15 years, worst increase happening between 2007 and now.
“But it takes about a year and half for annual unemployment figures to be published in Nigeria,’’ he said.
He concluded that Nigeria’s fiscal policy, monetary policy and financial policy now require explicit mandates about unemployment thresholds.
Gov. Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, who said that unemployment was a global problem, argued that solutions to it depended on how each country tackles it.
“Nigeria must do something urgently to address it in order to reverse the trend. We can only take a clue from countries like China and Taiwan in doing this,’’ he said.
Among the APC governors who attended the forum were Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers, Rabiu Kwakwanso of Kano, Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun, and Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State.
Other personalities at the event included former Head of State, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, Aminu Masari, a former Speaker, House of Representatives, who represented the APC leader, Sen. Bola Tinubu; and APC Acting National Chairman, Bisi Akande.