World Economy

Nigeria to Tackle High Unemployment Through SMEs

Nigeria to Tackle High Unemployment Through SMEsNigeria to Tackle High Unemployment Through SMEs

In an ‘Unemployment and Underemployment Report’ released in December 2017, Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics reported that the country’s unemployment rate rose from 14.2% to 18.8% in 2017.

The NBS also reported that the total number of people in full time employment (at least 40 hours a week) declined from 52.7 million in the second quarter 2017 to 51.1 million in the third quarter of the year, Vanguard online reported.

At unemployment rate of 18.8%, Nigeria has the highest unemployment rate among the MINT nations (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey).

This is a mind boggling statistic. The economic effects and impacts of unemployment include a surge in crime rate, lowered tax revenue and economic growth, loss of skills, and increased demand for substandard goods and services. Of note is the fact that a country with low productivity will always face the challenge of substantial unemployment.

To tackle the problem of unemployment, the country must get the real sector working and producing.  One weapon to use is to invest in SMEs. An active SME sector creates opportunities resulting in higher volume of production, employment, massive entrepreneurial talents.

If SMEs have easy access to finance, it helps to improve their operational capacity and efficiency thereby increasing their level of income generation. Increased levels of SMEs earnings equally help to reduce poverty and income inequality.

Recognizing the untapped growth potentials and huge economic returns derivable from developing the SME sector of the state of Akwa Ibom, Governor Udom Emmanuel, at inception in 2015, decided to create developmental programs fashioned to foster economic growth of the state by easing business activities, unlocking hidden local potential and stimulating local economy as a first line catalyst for industrial growth.

Few months into the administration, an economic and entrepreneurial initiative christened, Akwa Ibom Employment and Enterprise Scheme, or AKEES, was flagged off.

From day one, the government made it clear that its focus in governance was the industrialization of the state and job creation. AKEES was to jump start that agenda. With a mandate to reduce youth employment in the state by 50% by 2020, AKEES has worked with individuals and groups, taking ideas, skills, capacities and potentials and creating businesses and partnerships culminating in the activation and strengthening of over 100 businesses in the last two years.

To make this happen, AKEES uses the following strategies: micro franchising which allows beneficiaries of AKEES programs to own and run businesses through small scale partnerships, enterprise programs where individuals are enabled and supported to start their businesses in specific areas and tailored to meet needs in those areas.

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints