Youth Employment: Consequences Of Govt Inactions Would Be Severe, ILO Tells Nigeria, Others

By Obioma C. Appolos

Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Guy Ryder, has strongly advised Nigeria government and other government especially in Africa to see youth employment as an emergency situation that requires urgent constructive and well structured action. He added that the consequences of not implementing policy plans on job creation will result to unsafe society, such as security challenges and many other social vices.

Ryder, who was in Nigeria to attend the Global Youth Employment Forum 2019 in Abuja, and is the first DG of ILO to visit Nigeria since independence , noted that securing lives and properties of the citizens which is government’s basic responsibility would be a futile efforts, if a large number of citizens especially the youth are left vulnerable and prone to crime because of non availability of decent jobs.

“About 255 million young people across the world are not in employment nor are they in education or in any form of training. While about 136 million young people that are working still live in poverty, the chances of many youth falling within this lines is glaringly deepening by the day. While governments do little or nothing about it, the consequences of the scary situation will be so severe that no one will be safe.

“Youth employment is as at today, an emergency situation that required urgent and a life long constructive and a well structured action. This every country must do to save our young people and our society.

“In 2012, the ILO adopted its call for action on youth employment which is the frame work of the work for this forum. That call for action sets out five basic areas of action. They are pro-employment micro economic policies that will enable job creation among youths. That means youth employment is not only matter for ministries of labour or youths, but other agencies of government.

“The policy investment in education and skill. This is key, so that we can provide our young people with skills that our labour market really need. We need to make learning a life long process. The third area is active labour market policy, and this could vary from employment service provision to wage subsidy among others which can ease transition of young people from education to employment.

“The fourth is promotion of youth entrepreneurship and employment to harness the energy and talent of our young people. Lastly, we have to be aware of rights of the young people because they are workers like others and their rights need to be promoted and respected.” Ryder, stated.

ILO DG Guy Ryder, in a group photograph with Labour Correspondents Association of Nigeria (LACAN)

To discuss and chat a compass on the future of young people across the world especially concerning decent work, the ILO chose Nigeria to be the first country in Africa to host it’s Global Youth Employment Forum, with over 200 youths from countries of world in attendance.

In his opening remarks at the epoch event, Ryder who praised Nigeria for her steadfast relationship with the ILO went of to say; “There are many good reasons why we are holding this Forum in Africa, why we choose Nigeria and why we have come to Abuja.

“I want to say that all of us who visit your country are aware of the talent and vibrancy of your people. We see them across the world in all sectors. So, we know very well the quality and talent of the people of Nigeria. I am proud to be the first serving Director General of our organisation to visit the independent federal republic of Nigeria.”

Furthermore on the issue of youth employment, he stated; “In my experience as the Director general of the International Labour Organisation, if i ask any minister of labour what their priorities are, in nine out of ten, their answers has always been generating work for young people. And for the young people, the priority has been to obtain quality education and a chance at a decent job.

“We must ask ourselves, what is their future going to be? Are the young people included in our labour market or excluded? With young people more likely to be unemployed than adults, even when they can find a place of work, they can be in extremely difficult condition, which sometimes fall short of ILO’s ambition of decent work for all.

“136 million young people are working, yet still live in poverty. These are the working poor and in Africa, that is the status of 60 percent of young workers. Whether we like it or not, these are our global realities and that was the reality the international community set for itself in 2015, the UN 2030 agenda for sustainable development.

“The commitment then was to leave nobody behind and that includes the goal of inclusive growth and decent work for everybody, especially the youths. Last month, the UN took stock of the progress we have made so far in delivering on this agenda and the news is that we are way off track. The message here therefore is that we have to do more and better. That is why we are here in Abuja.

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