The Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, on Monday in Abuja said that tackling youth unemployment in the country was top priority of the National Assembly.
Speaking during an interactive session between members of the house and students’ representatives from universities across the country, Dogara decried the level of youth unemployment in the country, saying that employment opportunities were far below the growth in the population of youth.
“According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in 2015, Nigeria’s unemployment rate was 23.9 per cent, and 60 per cent of our population were youths, translating to about 80 million Nigerian youths.
“Youth unemployment rate is over 50 percent; about 64 million Nigerian youths are unemployed.
“When one takes into cognisance the sheer number of young people seeking employment, it renders programmes of government and international agencies to mere tokenistic gestures,” he said.
Dogara said that while the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) could not provide needed succour to unemployed youths, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme was struggling to absorb recent graduates of the country‘s tertiary institutions.
He expressed dismay that educated youths failed to acquire skills currently being demanded in the labour market.
“A weak vocational training sector means that, in spite of a large and growing construction sector, skilled construction workers are usually imported from neighbouring countries,” he said.
Dogara stated that the ongoing sectoral debates organized by the House would serve as a platform to identify and prioritize key issues of graduate unemployment to be addressed.