The Director General of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN), Dr. Dikko Umaru Radda has said that, unemployment in Nigeria has reached a crisis situation, with only one out of every 100 graduates securing a job.
He however expressed fear that, if that is not properly addressed with sufficient job creation, civil, social and political upheaval may 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 like Nigeria, hence the need to properly manage the group to yield positive demographic dividends, rather than becoming a security burden.
The Nation reported that ,Dr. Radda who stated this in Kaduna while flagging-off sensitization programme on Young Business Owners in Nigeria (Y-BON) however said that, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) is the surest way to diversify the economy and employ the huge youth population.
According to the DG who was represented at the occasion by the North-West Zonal Coordinator of SMEDAN, Alhaji Ahmad Muhammad Madaki, one of the major causes of unemployment in Nigeria is skill shortages occasioned by dearth of skilled personnel and entrepreneurial competence among others.
His words; “There is no doubt that unemployment situation in Nigeria has reached a crisis level. Statistics have shown that only one out every one hundred graduates is assured of getting a job in Nigeria.
“It is towards addressing this challenge that the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN) has initiated the Young Business Owners in Nigeria (Y-BON) programme, 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 usually confront MSMEs.
“Essentially, the target beneficiaries are young people between the ages of 20 to 45 years. The focus on this target is because of the need to create new opportunities for employment and enterprises growth which are usually not easily realizable in start-ups.” He said.
The SMEDAN DG, however, told the participants that, in 2018, a total of 460 business owners were supported with workspace in Anambra, Kebbi, Kogi, Cross River and Osun states.
“For 2019, three states have been selected, as beneficiaries of the programme. They are Bayelsa, Ogun and Kaduna states and this sensitization programme is running concurrently in the three states.
“Though, today marks the first leg of the intervention and no doubt, your participation is of significance to the agency. Your data will be captured in our databank and will form the basis of all future interventions.” He assured.