Job Creation: What Nigerian Govt Is Not Telling You
The Nigerian government has continued to woo foreign investors to set up businesses that will boost the economy that just crawled out of recession, with a 'weak' 0.55% growth margin.
Officials of the current administration have continued to talk about ease of doing business and establishment of policies that would make this dream – job creation - a reality, but there are underlying variables that have not changed, which are troubles brewing.
Most of the foreign investors they seek have become used to certain conditions and business enabling mechanisms which are not visibility in Nigeria.
A recent World Bank report on the fate of developing countries in the manufacturing-led development and the future, showed there is a cause for worry for countries like Nigeria.
There is trouble in the making, one which Nigeria is very close to if not already in.
The report leaves the challenge of changing the tide with the government and there is need to act fast to make Nigerian graduates more productive and in tune with reality.
Few things were made clear in the report.
Technology has changed the way things are done and the trend is not going to change.
The future holds a lot, but mostly for countries that are prepare for it.
Three things must have to happen in developing countries for these investors to find them juicy enough for them to plant their companies and create jobs.
1. Machines are powered by electricity not generating sets. Most of the machines that are in existence require steady electricity for them to work, since they are highly automated and power outage could mean having to go through a reprogramming process. If investors will come in to establish factories, power has to be stable. Nigeria is still far from a time power will be constant.
2. Advancement in technology is also posing a big challenge to developing countries that have refused to address power issues and this was highlighted by Gaurav Nayyar, an economist with the Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice and the report lead author.
The report stresses that if higher-quality goods can be produced at lower prices with new technology, those using older technologies may not be able to stay in business.
Older technologies are used in Nigeria and this could
mean that the cost of production will continue to be high, forcing Nigerians to
continue to go for imported goods.Companies will prefer to establish factories in countries where cost of production will be cheap and then export to Nigeria which has a huge market, with its over 170 million population.
3. Poorly Equipped Work Force: The World Bank report also highlighted that lowered competitiveness for firms using older technology in low and middle-income countries would leave the firms with no option than to adopt the new technologies.
These technologies are what they are likely to bring to Nigeria.
Nigerian graduates do not have the capacity needed for these new technologies and this means that new technology-driven investments in Nigeria, leaves the nation’s youth with no jobs still, as many of the recent graduates have been categorised as unemployable people.
Companies will need to bring in foreigners that will operate the machines that they will bring in and that will be expensive for most firms to handle. Just a few companies are willing to walk that road.
The bar is rising and not likely to move backwards to adopt traditional ways of manufacturing.
What will save the day?
This leaves the government with just a few options - address the power and other infrastructure challenges, make needed inputs in the education sector, with the aim of improving standard and producing graduates who are employable or stick to the 'business as usual' status quo and await the trouble the future holds.
The last is not an option that a nation that wants its youths to prosper will take.