Nigerians should look to new ways of solving employment issues and seek to upgrade their thinking faculties in the age which we live.
This was the sole message of The GMD First Bank Nigeria Ltd, Mr Stephen O. Onasanya. During his speech at the CEO Roundtable on Sustainability, which had the theme: “Leading by empowering: Youth, skills, Training and Unemployment in Changing Economy” he encouraged Nigerians to face up with problems, challenges in our own environment.
According to him, “Many of know that the world is a global village and we normally see this from the e-business angle but it’s gone beyond that. We have to face our problems from within.
“We don’t want to be labeled as a group of people who are looking for ways of escaping from their motherland and it all boils down to what opportunities we create for ourselves in this country.
“Statistics reveal that we have about 110 million people that are within the working age and 74 million of these are partially employed. So the challenge is: what happened to the rest of them?
“When we take deep look at the partially employed number among the 74 million, how employable are they? We should take a look at the quality of people that we churn out of our institutions. As an employer of labour myself, sometimes I grieve when I look at the quality of people in the workforce. They are unemployable but what do we do about it?”
“As part of First bank’s commitment to sustainability, we still employ about 650 fresh graduates every year and I can tell you that although we don’t advertise it public, we usually have close to half a million application. When we take it through the first level of grading, we could hardly find up to 50 thousand that were qualified for the next grading. And when you take it to the assessment stage the result is appalling.”
“The implication of this is that per capita income is reducing and yet population keeps growing. So what do we do? We have a crucial problem on our hands that if not solved can blossom into something that cannot be contained.”
He also stressed the need for Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of entrepreneurship, as this is one means of solving the problem of unemployment.
“I think one of the things we have to do is to build entrepreneurial skill and attitude in our people. We all end up being brainwashed that we must go to the university and read courses such as engineering to get a good job. That’s not true, Former generations were more successful than ours because they were more entrepreneurial.”
Among other things, he also mentioned the lack of access to finance as another challenge that entrepreneurs face when trying to start businesses.