“Tackling Youth Unemployment in Nigeria”: A Policy Note by the Bureau of Public Service Reforms Nigeria.

TACKLING YOUTH

UNEMPLOYMENT IN NIGERIA

A POLICY NOTE

August 2017

The Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) was established on 4th February, 2004 as an inde- pendent and self-accounting body. The mandate of the Bureau is to initiate, coordinate and ensure full implementation of government reform policies and programmes.

The Bureau’s Vision is to drive change that will position Nigeria’s Public Service as an institution of ex- cellence and the Mission is to facilitate the building of Nigeria’s Public Service into a highly functional, professional, customer-focused and result-oriented institution.

A Policy Note by the Bureau of Public Service Reforms of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, with support from the UK Department for International Development (DFID) through the Learning, Evidencing and Advocacy Partnership (LEAP), which is part of the part of Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL) programme. The note is prepared with input from LEAP sta , the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, the Ibadan of Government and Public Policy, Preston Consultants and other independent consultants

Bureau of Public Service Reforms

The Federal Government of Nigeria,
 The Federal Secretariat Complex,
 New Extension, Plot 4, Phase II,
 Block D, 3rd Floor, Shehu Shagari Way, Garki, Abuja, Nigeria. bpsr.gov.ng

© Bureau for Public Service Reforms, Nigeria, August 2017

Contents

Executive Summary 4

  1. 1 Introduction 6
  2. 2 Youth Unemployment Initiatives in Nigeria: Assessment 10
  3. and Critique
  4. 2.1 Weak Policy Conception and Management Structure 12
  5. 2.2 Cloudy Policy Implementation and Strategy 12
  6. 2.3 The Challenge of Developing a Long Term Perspective to
  7. Initiatives and Programmes 14
  8. 2.4 Duplication of Initiatives and Programmes 14
  9. 2.5 Inadequate Programme Evaluation and Monitoring Systems 14
  10. 2.6 Political Consideration 15
  11. 3 Policy Recommendations 16
  12. 3.1 Administrative Structure and Coordination 16
  13. 3.2 Private Sector Participation 17
  14. 3.3 Skills Development and Training 18
  15. 3.4 Data Gathering and Information Mapping 19
  16. 3.5 Clear Action Agenda for the Nigerian Youth 20

Executive Summary

Nigeria has the largest youth1 popula on in Africa. The United States (US) Census Bureau es mates Nigeria’s youthful popula on at 62.8 million in 2016, represen ng 34% of the total popula on. By 2050, this popula on will more than double to reach 135 million. This suggests that individuals from 15–34 years will repre- sent 69% of Nigeria’s 391 million people. The 2016 Global Youth Development Index (YDI) scored Nigeria 0.512 , ranking 141 out of 183 countries, but in the domain of Employment & Opportuni es the country ranked 158. Between the rst and third quarter of 2016, the economy created 422,133 net jobs while 3.7 million people (comprised of about 70% youth) entered the labour force in the same period. As at the fourth quarter of 2016 youths made up about 68% of Nigeria’s total unemployed and underemployed popula on. Within the next ve years, the economy needs to create about 3 million jobs per annum to maintain the current unemployment rate of 14%.

This policy note takes a close look at Nigeria’s youth unemployment challenges and examines government’s approaches to tackling the men- ace of unemployment. It also o ers perspec- ves on the strategic role and capacity of the private sector to create jobs, which is crucial in addressing the pressing unemployment prob- lem in Nigeria. Some key ndings regarding gov- ernment’s e orts to empower young Nigerians include:

  • ● Weak policy concep on and management structure
  • ● Cloudy policy implementa on and strategy
  • ● The absence of long-term perspec ve to ini-
  • a ves and programmes
  • ● Duplica on of ini a ves and programmes
  • ● Inadequate programme evalua on and moni-
  • toring systems

The note concludes with the following seven recommenda ons to address the immediate and longer-term aspects of the youth unem- ployment challenge:

1. Revamp the approach to government’s role in job crea on by shi ing from direct job crea on to a focus on a coherent strategic approach. This approach should dovetail exis ng youth employment interven ons with a broader strat- egy for promo ng private sector-led growth in produc vity in four youth-sensi ve sectors: ICT, entertainment, hospitality (tourism, hotels and restaurants) and agriculture. It should iden- fy and address the major constraints to value chain development within these sectors, in- cluding macroeconomic policy issues, business climate, infrastructure (especially power and transport), trade policies, tax policies and access to nance.

2. To facilitate the development, implementa- on and con nuous renewal of the strategy, government should:

a. Conduct a skills-gap assessment across the four sectors to iden fy the skills required by the market

b. Compile and regularly update data on the unemployed, disaggregated by loca on (state), skills and reasons for unemployment

3. Using the informa on in 2a and 2b above, strengthen the school-to-work transi on and linkage to improve the match between grad- uates and labour needs of the market. This should be undertaken under the auspices of a strategic Na onal Skills Policy and Na onal Skills Programme that is informed by the needs of the market.

4. Further to 3 above, re-structure skills ac-

1 Data used comprises those aged between 15 and 34 years as de ned in the Nigeria’s National Youth Policy of 2009. 2 This is below the global average of 0.616. YDI scores range from 0 to 1.

4 — BPSR — Tackling youth unemployment in Nigeria: A policy note

quisi on and training systems in Nigeria via a comprehensive skills development ecosystem wherein coordinated engagement between training providers, private sector employers, the public sector and other stakeholders ensures that the labour force has the appropriate path- ways to employment.

5. Further to 4 above, strengthen public-private approaches in the review of the training cur- ricula at di erent levels of youth development, giving priority to acquisi on and applica on of knowledge across the four key sectors and the future skills needs of industries

6. Strengthen the review process of the Na onal Youth Policy and its Implementa on Strategy to

be er recognise the energies and resourceful- ness of the Nigerian youth and determine ap- propriate policy ac ons to harness such. The review should also iden fy priority areas for youth development, clearly de ne roles and responsibili es of youth-related government in- s tu ons/agencies, clearly state the resources required for policy implementa on and iden fy measures for suppor ng youth ini a ves both in rural and urban areas across Nigeria.

7. Develop a results-based monitoring and evalua on system under the auspices of the Economic Management Team to track and ad- just the implementa on of the policy and sup- por ng ini a ves and to assess results and im- pact.

BPSR — Tackling youth unemployment in Nigeria: A policy note — 5

1.0 Introduction

Young woman prepares fried food at road side © Devesh Uba

Youth unemployment is a longstanding global concern. In most jurisdic ons across the world, sta s cs depic ng unemployment condi ons generally suggest that youth face compara vely worse labor market outcomes. The challenge is more pronounced in emerging and developing countries where young people experience acute unemployment in both the formal and informal labour markets. Whilst a de cit of skills and op- portuni es for wage employment are among the leading causes of youth employment, labour market-relevant competencies also play a signif- icant role in limi ng youth job outcomes.

One unique feature of the economic growth pro le in Nigeria is its inability to create more jobs. The recent downturn of economic ac vi-

es further exacerbates the wage employment de cit amongst the youth. The current growth rate of popula on which outpaces growth rate of employment genera on is, indeed, a policy considera on in addressing youth employment and produc vity.

Why is youth employment important as a spe- ci c object of policy? Youth unemployment has serious social, economic and poli cal conse- quences. The link between unemployment and (violent) social erup ons such as crime and in- security is intui ve. Youth unemployment com- pounds the security and socio-poli cal chal- lenges currently faced by the Nigerian state, including the insurgency in the North-East, an ac ve secessionist movement in the South-

6 — BPSR — Tackling youth unemployment in Nigeria: A policy note

“By 2050, Nigeria’s youth popula- tion will more than double to reach 135 mil- lion, making it the largest in Africa.”

East, periodic irrup ons of militancy in the Niger Delta and other serious crimes in parts of the country. The livelihood pressures asso- ciated with youth unemployment contribute to emerging trends in emigra on from the country. Nigeria ranked second among countries iden — ed as the origin of desperate migrants on the sea route to Europe as at April 2017.3

Nigeria has the largest youth4 popula on in Africa. The United States (US) Census Bureau es mates Nigeria’s youth popula on at 62.8 million in 2016, represen ng 34% of the total popula on. By 2050, this popula on will more than double to reach 135 million. This suggests that individuals from 15–34 years old will rep- resent 69% of Nigeria’s projected 391 million people. How well do Nigerian youths fare when compared with those in other countries? The 2016 Global Youth Development Index (YDI),

which measures the level of youth development across countries, scored Nigeria at 0.515 , rank- ing it 141st out of 183 countries. Speci cally, in domains such as Health and Well-being as well as Educa on, Nigeria ranked 156th and 157th respec vely, while in the domain of Employment and Opportuni es it ranked 158th.

This calls for serious policy a en on. Nigeria’s success on the global stage will largely depend on how well it is able to leverage the energy and poten al of its young and vibrant popula- on. If the poten al of this large popula on is bolstered and harnessed, Nigeria would have a large pool of produc ve youth in the labour force that would contribute signi cantly to eco- nomic growth and development. In addi on, Nigerian youth could further bu ress their na- scent leadership role in the African con nent and even on the global stage, especially in areas of entrepreneurship and innova on. However, whilst the poten al bene ts of a large and fast growing youth popula on — o en regarded as a demographic dividend — are massive, the con- ngent problem of youth unemployment poses acute risks to social stability.

Es mates published by the Na onal Bureau of Sta s cs (NBS) for the fourth quarter of 2016 show that youths account for 68% of Nigeria’s combined unemployed and underemployed popula on. This implies that 19.3 million youths in Nigeria were either unemployed or underem- ployed during the period under considera on. The challenge is compounded by current and expected trends indica ng signi cant increas- es in the number of youths entering the labour force and the massive shor all of jobs available to cater to this demand. Between the rst and third quarters of 2016, the economy created 422,133 net jobs, while 3.7 million people (with about 70% youth) entered the labour force in the same period6 . At this rate, within the next ve years, the economy needs to create about 3 million jobs per annum to maintain the current unemployment rate at 14%7.

Another unique characteris c of youth unem- ployment in Nigeria is the phenomenon of the co-existence of high youth unemployment and

3According to Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), a medical charity organisation, the number of African migrants on sea route to Europe has surged in recent times despite the recurrence of imsy and overcrowded dinghies sinking in the international waters and the corresponding drowning of desperate migrants.
 4Data used comprises those aged between 15 and 34 years as de ned in the Nigeria’s National Youth Policy of 2009.
 5This is below the global average of 0.616

BPSR — Tackling youth unemployment in Nigeria: A policy note — 7

Young men a end to timber logs at Okobaba, Ebute Me a. © Oluwamuyiwa Logo

massive skills shortages in the labour market. This paradox further creates an interes ng dy- namic of youth unemployment–skills mismatch. The implica on is that while there is currently economy-wide excess labour supply, segments of the labour market for speci c skill sets are ex- periencing labour demand surplus! Interes ngly, these key skills shortages are distributed among a range of diverse occupa onal groups. This challenge represents a constraint on the ability of private sector to create employment oppor- tuni es.

In addi on, labour market dichotomy in Nigeria is huge8. While the informal sector represents an important part of the economy and the la- bour market, accoun ng for 41.43% of GDP9 and contribu ng signi cantly to jobs in 2016,10 its ac vi es largely depend on the func oning and e ciency of the formal sector. Hence, the unique characteris cs of youth unemployment

are reinforced by the nature of linkages be- tween the informal and formal sectors. Unlike the formal sector, there is a high level of labour market heterogeneity in the informal sector, al- beit there are inadequate sta s cs on its size, distribu on and economic contribu on. This data inadequacy poses a major constraint in providing a realis c diagnos c of youth unem- ployment in Nigeria.

In stemming the de of youth unemployment in Nigeria, di erent approaches11 comprising la- bour demand, labour supply and labour market interven ons have been ini ated by the govern- ment12. However, the impact has been minimal. This, of course, indicates the extent to which these ini a ves and interven ons have been e ec ve in reducing youth unemployment.

While assessing the current state of youth unemployment and government ini a ves in

6National Bureau of Statistics’ Job Creation Survey Report for Q32016
 7National Bureau of Statistics’ Unemployment and Underemployment Report for Q42016
 8The dual labour market hypothesis signals the existence of informal and formal youth labour market.
 9National Bureau of Statistics, 2016. 10Occupation characteristics in informal sector, especially among the youth, encompass a wide range of small-scale, largely self-employ- ment activities in economic activities such as retail trade, transport, restaurant, repair services and other personal services.

8 — BPSR — Tackling youth unemployment in Nigeria: A policy note

Nigeria, the ques ons that underlie this brief include the following: Why have na onal and sub-na onal governments not been able to tackle youth unemployment in Nigeria despite a myriad of ini a ves and programmes? How can government become more e ec ve and e cient in addressing the problem? What ca- pabili es and poten als do the private sector possess for addressing youth unemployment

in Nigeria? This brief highlights the ins tu on- al arrangements and strategy governing youth employment interven ons in Nigeria, provides an overview of the main challenges facing youth employment ini a ves and pro ers policy ad- vice on the way forward.

11The Federal Government had launched many unemployment alleviation programmes, namely Operation Feed the Nation (OFN), Green Revolution (GR), Directorate of Food, Roads, and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI), National Directorates of Employment (NDE), Poverty Alleviation Programmes (PAP), National Economic Empowerment and Develop- ment Strategy (NEEDS) and several other initiatives. These initiatives were also faced with common challenges as reviewed in this brief.
 12While labour demand strategies and initiatives primarily focused on creating jobs through public and private sector intervention, the labour supply strategy dealt with the training and education of prospective job seekers. Labour market intervention strategy focused on improving the labour market and matching demand and supply interrela- tionships.

BPSR — Tackling youth unemployment in Nigeria: A policy note — 9

2.0 Youth Unemployment Initiatives in Nigeria: Assessment and Critique

This sec on reviews and assesses government approaches and strategies vis-à-vis policy de- velopment and implementa on capacity in tackling youth unemployment in Nigeria. Many employment promo on ini a ves have been implemented in the areas of skills development, entrepreneurship promo on, improvement of the business climate and access to nance for

small and medium enterprises in Nigeria (see Table 1). Despite these ini a ves, the funda- mental problem of rising youth unemployment persists. This is a ributable to several factors as enumerated below:

Table 1: Details of agencies used in delivering past Job Crea on Interven ons

MINISTRY / DEPARTMENT / AGENCY

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

PARENT MINISTRY

PUBLISHED DATA ON JOBS CREATED VIA ITS INITIATIVES

GOVERN-
 MENT REVIEW OF PAST / PRESENT ACTIVITIES

SMALL & MEDIUM ENTERPRISES DEVELOPMENT AGENCY OF NIGERIA

To s mulate, mon- itor and coordinate the development of the MSMEs sub-sector

Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment

There exist no datasets supplying evidence on jobs created by the agency.

The parent ministry has no evidence
 to the e ect of
 any review of the ac vi es of the agency.

NATIONAL DIRECTORATE OF EMPLOYMENT (NDE)

To design and implement programmes to combat mass unemployment

Federal Ministry of Labour & Employment

There exist no datasets supplying evidence on jobs created by the agency.

The parent ministry has no evidence of any review of the ac vi es of the directorate.

INDUSTRIAL TRAINING FUND (ITF)

To set and regulate standards and o er direct training interven ons in industrial and commercial skills training and de- velopment, using highly competent professional sta , modern techniques and technology.

Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment

There exist no datasets supplying evidence on jobs created by the agency.

The parent ministry has no evidence of any review of the ac vi es of the directorate.

10 — BPSR — Tackling youth unemployment in Nigeria: A policy note

MINISTRY / DEPARTMENT / AGENCY

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

PARENT MINISTRY

PUBLISHED DATA ON JOBS CREATED VIA ITS INITIATIVES

GOVERN-
 MENT REVIEW OF PAST / PRESENT ACTIVITIES

FEDERAL MINISTRY
 OF YOUTH DEVELOPMENT

To provide a sus- tainable framework for integrated planning and col- labora on among stakeholders for the development of policies and programmes, laws and other ini a- ves that promote and enhance the development of the Nigerian youth and the protec on of their interests.

Federal Ministry ofYouth Development

There exists no data on jobs creat- ed by the ministry through its various interven ons.

The ministry has no evidence of any review of its past ac vi es.

N-POWER (See text box in sec on 2.2)

A Na onal Social Investment Programme (NSIP) that is designed
 to create jobs and empower Nigerians between the ages of 18 and 35.

O ce of the Vice President

Empowered 174,160 youths out of 200,000 selected for 2016. This represents an 88% success rate.

Constant en- gagement of stakeholders on the ac vi es and achievement of the ini a ves.

FEDERAL MINISTRY OF FINANCE

To manage the Na on’s nance for sustainable development. The ministry has sever- al interven ons to create jobs.

Federal Ministry of Finance

There exists datasets supplying evidence on jobs created by the ministry through its various interven- ons.

The ministry has no evidence of any review of its past ac vi es.

CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA (CBN)

To deliver price and nancial system stability and pro- mote sustainable economic develop- ment. The CBN has several job crea on ini a ves.

NIL

There exists no ev- idence backed data on jobs created by the bank through any of its past interven ons.

The bank has no evidence of any review of the ac- vi es of the bank with respect to job crea on schemes.

Source: Review of activities of listed agencies by MSME-ASI

14For instance, the refusal of the Bank of Industry (BOI) to provide nancing for small business applicants under the National Enterprises Development Programme (NEDEP) e ectively grounded the programme and ensured its job creation projections were not met. A review into why BOI declined to fund the applicants revealed it was because the bank was not duly consulted at the conception stages for the programme and as such did not make inputs into criteria for participation on the programmes. Also, the Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YOUWIN) was also conceptualised in 2012 to create jobs via the provision of grants to award winners to either start-up and or scale up business enterprises. The intervention despite producing a total of 3900 award winners is not known to have impacted positively on the youth unemployment challenge. Factors such as failing to target sectors with high growth potentials, quota system model etc. scuttled the job creation projections for the initiative.

BPSR — Tackling youth unemployment in Nigeria: A policy note — 11

2.1 Weak Policy Concep on and Man- agement Structure

One of the general features of public policy cra ing in Nigeria is the lack of exhaus ve con- sulta on with stakeholders and intended bene- ciaries. The case of government ini ated youth unemployment programmes and policies gener- ally replicates this trend.13 In response to high levels of youth unemployment, the government has introduced several policies aimed at pro- viding opportuni es for young people. O en, these ini a ves are anchored by government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) with limited capacity and resources. These de- ciencies engender poor concep on and scop- ing of appropriate policy interven ons, leading to poor implementa on and performance. Also, these programmes are characterised by com- plex yet weak management structures.14 15

The upshot of these shortcomings is to limit the e ec veness and scale of impact of policy ini a ves targeted at boos ng youth employ- ment. Many uncoordinated youth employment promo on ini a ves exist in isola on across the di erent ministries and government agen- cies, each with minimal capacity to produce sig- ni cant results. Youth employment ini a ves become more di cult to deliver in the absence of e ec ve monitoring and coordina on across the agencies.

2.2 Cloudy Policy Implementa on and Strategy

The bane of e ec ve youth employment ini- a ves and programmes is the government’s inability to properly frame its implementa on strategy alongside stakeholders’ contribu ons. This failure can also be a ributed to the way government sets itself up to address the prob- lem, the levels of competency in the civil ser- vice and incen ves for ‘rent-seeking’ among the MDAs. Hence, the challenges that assail policy implementa on are o en a fallout of the fact that programmes’ concep on is o en faulty and the implemen ng agencies’ capacity for e ec- ve delivery is weak.

13 For instance, the refusal of the Bank of Industry (BOI) to provide nancing for small business applicants under the National Enterprises Development Programme (NEDEP) e ectively grounded the programme and ensured its job creation projections were not met. BOI declined to fund the applicants because it was not duly consulted at the con- ception stages of the programme and as such did not make inputs into the criteria for participation on the programmes. Another government youth employment initiative was the Youth Enterprise With Innovation in Nigeria (YOUWIN), which was conceptualised in 2012 to create jobs via the provision of business start-up or scale-up grants to award winners. Despite producing a total of 3900 award winners, it is not known if the intervention has impacted positively on the youth unemployment challenge. Factors such as failing to target sectors with high growth potentials, quota system, etc. scuttled the job creation projections for the initiative.

12 — BPSR — Tackling youth unemployment in Nigeria: A policy note

“A balance must be worked out between capi- tal and labour intensive indus- tries to ensure the former does not drown out the latter.”

N-Power A Youth Focused Na onal Social Investment Programme

N-Power is a Na onal Social Investment Programme (NSIP) designed to create jobs and empower Nigerians between the ages of 18 and 35. The goal of the programme is to pro- vide them with the skills, tools and experience necessary to advance from unemployment to employment, entrepreneurship and innova on. N-Power operates in the following three dimensions and sub-dimensions:

N-Power Teachers Corps (with 500,000 graduates)

o N-Power Agro
 o N-Power Health
 o N-Power Teach
 o N-Power Community Health

N-Power Knowledge (with 25,000 non-graduates)

o N-Power Crea ve
 o N-Power Tech Hardware o N-Power Tech So ware

N-Power Build (with 75,000 non-graduates)

o Building Services
 o Construc on
 o Built Environment Services o U li es
 o Automo ve
 o Aluminum and Gas

Under the N-Power Teachers Corp programme, graduates of ter ary ins tu ons are de- ployed to schools, health centres and farms to provide technical support in these areas. In the rst year of opera on, about 200,000 young graduates were selected as bene ciaries of the program. They are currently undergoing two-year training.

Following the wide acceptance of the program, it currently runs across Nigeria’s 36 states and the FCT. As at the rst quarter of 2017, the N-Power programme had empowered 174,160 youths out of 200,000 selected na onwide. The programme plans to empower 500,000 youth in 2017. This is largely a ributed to e cient coordina on. So far, applica- ons for the programme have been oversubscribed. For instance, the N-Power portal was re-opened in July 2017 and received over 2.5 million applica ons.

N-Power is the largest post-ter ary jobs programme in Africa. It is coordinated by the O ce of the Vice President.

14A classic example of government intervention failure due to poor problem scoping and management ine ciency, among other factors, is the National Directorate of Employ- ment (NDE) established in October 1989. Though well-intentioned, the inability of the government to appreciate the depth, scope and dynamics of unemployment especially among the youth negatively in uenced the overall e ectiveness and performance of this programme. About NDE and similar initiatives, Akande (2014) opined that complex coordination and management structures largely undermine adequate funding of these programmes. According to him, “When you run a multiplicity of programs at the same time under a weak management structure and practice, with inadequate funding, and with several layers of authorities that sometimes bicker among themselves, there is the risk of not being focused and e ective.”

BPSR — Tackling youth unemployment in Nigeria: A policy note — 13

2.3 The Challenge of Developing a Long Term Perspec ve to Ini a ves and Programmes

Governments need to complement any short- term and youth-speci c measures with lon- ger term policies to s mulate labour-intensive growth. Youth employment ini a ves are o en conceived with short-term gains in mind, and with li le considera on for a long-term per- spec ve that may change the dynamics of un- employment substan ally.16 Indeed, major mac- roeconomic policy thrusts such as the Economic Recovery Growth Plan, Industrial Revolu on Plan (IRP) and other strategic sectoral plans and policies are key in posi vely changing the youth unemployment narra ve. The structural chang- es needed involve taking a comprehensive ap- proach to employment issues in general. This could be done in a way that not only targets youth, but also looks at educa onal, training and labour market issues so that dynamic and progressive policy interven ons are ini ated to address all issues comprehensively.

The conversa on around s mula ng labour-in- tensive growth gives rise to the impera ve of strategic thinking around the design and imple- menta on of the government’s industrializa on strategy. A balance must be worked out be- tween capital- and labour-intensive industries, with a view to ensuring that the former does not drown out the la er, leaving a legacy of industrial expansion that does li le to address the youth unemployment challenge. This is ob- viously an immense challenge given rapidly ex- panding automa on worldwide. However, the constraints imposed by automa on limit em- ployment crea on strategies worldwide and do not eliminate the impera ve of addressing the (youth) unemployment problem.

2.4 Duplica on of Ini a ves and Programmes

There is limited capacity of youth programmes to meet exis ng demand. In fact, most of the government youth employment ini a ves,

while well-inten oned, are grossly inadequate to accommodate the huge pro le of unem- ployed youth. This challenge has led to instanc- es of programme fragmenta on and duplica on where similar interven ons are targe ng the same popula on group. This approach has not o ered the right solu ons given the fact that se ng up uncoordinated job crea on schemes and ini a ves under various incoherent frame- works creates monitoring and delivery challeng- es. As programmes are not linked or established to complement each other, their coverage with respect to the target popula on proves di cult to es mate. Duplica on of employment pro- grammes among government obviously limits the impact of these isolated ini a ves. There is a need to be er coordinate programmes within and across implemen ng ministries.

2.5 Inadequate Programme Evalua on and Monitoring Systems

Proper employment interven on design and strategy is a prerequisite to e ec ve imple- menta on, along with monitoring of progress and evalua on of results and impact. Global evidence lends credence to the e ec veness of a results-based management style. In fact, adequate par cipant pro ling, follow-up and monitoring systems assist in responding to the needs of the youth, enhancing programme par- cipa on and quality of programme delivery. E ec ve monitoring and evalua on (M&E) sys- tems are crucial to ensuring programmes are be- ing implemented as intended while iden fying implementa on bo lenecks to be addressed. With respect to youth employment ini a ves in Nigeria, monitoring systems are o en very weak and uncoordinated.

The di culty in obtaining basic informa on from the ins tu ons responsible for the pro- grammes reviewed in the inventory (see Table 1 above) provides a clear indica on of the in- adequacy of exis ng M&E informa on systems. Most programmes do not produce basic moni- toring reports or track bene ciaries during pro-

15 N-Power, a National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) that creates jobs and organises empowerment programmes for Nigerians between the ages of 18 and 35, appears to improve on the monitoring and evaluation front unlike many other past initiatives. For instance, in the quest to achieve inclusive growth, the N-Power programme has empowered 174,160 youths out of 200,000 selected for N-Power programme nationwide, recording 88% impact outcome. The programme plans to empower 500,000 youth in 2017. This is largely attributed to e cient coordination.

14 — BPSR — Tackling youth unemployment in Nigeria: A policy note

gramme implementa on and a er programme comple on. With no rigorous evalua ons, nei- ther government nor youth can know which programmes are working and which are not, and why.17

2.6 Poli cal considera ons

The youth unemployment problem in Nigeria is worsening despite concerted e orts to address it. It is against this backdrop that understanding the problem from a poli cal economy perspec- ve is impera ve and could possibly add value going forward. One of the main reasons why e orts appear to have been wasted in a myr- iad of ine ectual job crea on schemes is that these e orts have focused on crea ng govern- ment agencies, posts and budgets that can be

dispensed according to a logic of patronage. The incen ves have been geared towards re- warding small groups (whether those charged with administering the schemes) or the lucky few youths selected for training and per diems rather than focusing on delivering the public goods required to tackle youth unemployment. Addressing this challenge requires strong polit- ical will on the side of government.18 Needless to say ge ng it right is impera ve to the over- all success of every well-inten oned ini a ve and programme, which is an outcome that will generate enormous socioeconomic bene ts for the ci zenry and huge poli cal payo s for the government.

Young woman speaks at forum in Kaduna, Nigeria. © Allan Leonard

16Of course, there is the need to also balance long term priorities with immediate term initiatives to stem widespread poverty and prevent youth related social unrest.
 17By contrast, almost all private programmes have some form of monitoring and evaluation system funded by donors, but few programmes have established M&E frameworks. This also justi es the call for an enhanced role for the private sector in youth job creation.
 18Political meddling ensures those who represent the interests of the politicians are employed. The few available employment slots usually go to those who can pay for it. Syndicates working in collaboration with some heads of institutions and organizations also bene t from this rent seeking culture.

BPSR — Tackling youth unemployment in Nigeria: A policy note — 15

3. Policy Recommendations

Shoemakers in Ariaria market in Aba, where leatherworkers and other a isans push the local industry.

It is very likely the case that government is do- ing a lot to address youth employment in the country. However, li le evidence exists to sub- stan ate the e orts. To change this narra ve, government needs to rethink the exis ng mod- el and draw vital lessons from global standards and strategies. Having reviewed the current trend and ins tu onal framework of youth em- ployment ini a ves and programmes, key pol- icy advice is o ered in the light of global best prac ces. In what follows, we pro er prac cal and solu ons-based recommenda ons funda- mental to achieving meaningful impact while addressing youth unemployment in Nigeria.

For ease of rendi on, this sec on is classi ed into:

3.1 Administra ve Structure and Coor- dina on

Governments within the last decade have focused more on directly intervening in job crea on rather than iden fying the barriers milita ng against the ability of the organised private sector to create signi cant employment opportuni es. This approach is counter-pro- duc ve as it rather crowds out the job crea on poten al of the private sector. While crowding out e ects happen through di erent channels, the Nigerian experience shows that govern- ment’s direct hiring of workers or ‘crea on’ of jobs is detrimental to long-run labour market outcomes as it undermines the private sector’s produc vity and capacity to grow and create quality jobs.

A rethink of the overall approach to policy is impera ve. Central to this rethink is a coherent strategic approach that dovetails exis ng youth employment programmes with a broader strat-

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Administra ve Structure and Coordina on, Private Sector Par cipa on,
 Impact Assessment, Monitoring and Evalua on System,

Data and Informa on Mapping and Broader Policy Reforms.

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BPSR — Tackling youth unemployment in Nigeria: A policy note

egy for promo ng private sector-led growth and improvements in produc vity. This means understanding the fundamental constraints to employment enhancing such growth and de- signing policies to tackle them. It also means a revamp of the programmes of the di erent min- istries and agencies by designing from scratch a holis c strategy which can co-opt relevant MDAs with speci c roles as deemed opera- onally appropriate. A central coordina ng role, presumably under the auspices of the Economic Management Team, is needed to ensure the im- plementa on of the strategy.

3.2 Private Sector Par cipa on

3.2.1. Private Sector and Job Crea on

In recognizing the strategic role of the private sector in driving produc vity and employment, the government needs to focus on crea ng a conducive and business friendly environment for the private sector to thrive. Therefore, in- volving and incen vizing the private sector is key to a sustainable youth employment strate- gy. The private sector should be a core player in the implementa on of youth employment programmes by providing business-driven solu- ons to youth unemployment. The private sec- tor’s response to the youth employment chal- lenge should be shaped by its own responsible self-interest in ensuring rms’ long-term growth and innova on.

3.2.2. Private Sector and Industrializa on Strategy

Diversi ca on of the economy away from oil has the poten al to enhance government non- oil revenue through taxes and create jobs in the process. Broadly, the government should create the enabling environment for the private sector to create jobs by ensuring policies and reforms that improve the growth environment. This in- cludes macroeconomic policy, the business en- vironment, infrastructure (especially power and transport), trade policies, tax policies and ac- cess to credit and other forms of nance. There is need to iden fy priority economic sectors as

anchor sectors to which policy and program- ma c interven ons will be directed to aid job crea on within and beyond such sectors. Some economic sectors are strategic to resolving the challenges of youth unemployment and har- nessing the talent and resources of the Nigerian youth. The World Bank has iden ed four such sectors in Nigeria that are youth-intensive to in- clude ICT, Entertainment, Hospitality (Tourism, Hotels and Restaurants) and Agri-business. The government should iden fy the major con- straints within these sectors and ensure prop- er value-chain development. All of this should keep in mind the impera ve of balancing capital intensity with labour intensity in terms of iden — fying sectors for targeted interven on.

More broadly, government needs to make in- dustrialisa on a priority as a way of empower- ing the private sector and incen vizing invest- ment into key employment-intensive industries. Employment narra ves o en trail increased economic ac vi es through produc vity and innova on. As a result of the economic reces- sion in Nigeria, largely occasioned by the de- cline in oil prices and the a endant impact on government revenue, the need for economic deepening especially in the non-oil sector has received renewed a en on. There is an urgent need, therefore, to explore these job crea ng opportuni es through value chain and technol- ogy especially in the agriculture and services sectors, which contributed 77% to real GDP in Q1–2017.

Given the vast youth popula on and employ- ment poten al in these sectors, policy focus on reducing youth unemployment should address how youth produc ve capacity can be deployed in these sectors leading to economic deepening via improved produc vity and employment gen- era on. The overall goals and targets of youth employment should be contextualized within this broad agenda of socio-economic inclusion and investment promo on strategies.

BPSR — Tackling youth unemployment in Nigeria: A policy note

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3.3 Skills Development and Training

3.3.1 Need to Re-design Training Curricula

Given the essen al role of basic educa on in ensuring a smooth transi on to work, the youth unemployment challenge can be a ributed to the low level of educa on and technical skills among the youth. The skills gap is the biggest challenge with respect to the supply of labour in Nigeria. To respond to employers’ needs and close the gap between youth labour supply and demand, there is a need to re-structure skills ac- quisi on and training systems in Nigeria. A skills development ecosystem requires closely coor- dinated engagement with high quality training providers, job providers, public sector and other stakeholders. Therefore, a comprehensive skills ecosystem is required to ensure that the labour force has the appropriate pathways to employ- ment.

Labour market informa on is key in helping training programme designers iden fy grow- ing sectors and prospec ve occupa on areas. It is of great importance, then, to posi on new training programmes in the na onal youth em- ployment framework to determine the jobs and occupa onal areas in demand among priority sectors of the economy. In this sense, the role of broad-based stakeholder dialogue and collabo- ra on is cri cal in iden fying needs and design- ing appropriate skills-relevant curricula.

3.3.2. Educa on Reforms Towards Work-Rele- vant Skills

Nigeria needs holis c structural reforms for the educa on sector. The purpose of educa- on in Nigeria remains unclearly de ned. This underpins the challenge of weak accountability and governance structures in the na on’s edu- ca on sector. The lack of a clear vision for the sector is re ected in the signi cant number of graduates at di erent levels who cannot com- pete globally, regardless of their high levels of talent and e ort. Going forward, Nigeria’s cur- riculum must be up-to-date with the rapidly changing skills needs of the country. To achieve

19National Bureau of Statistics’ Job Creation Survey Report for Q32016

this, the Nigerian government must strengthen public-private approaches in the review of the curricula at di erent levels. The reviewed cur- ricula must priori ze the development and ap- plica on of knowledge across major sectors and must be in line with the future skills needs of in- dustries. Entrepreneurial studies need to be in- cluded in the secondary school curriculum and teachers must be adequately trained to deliver the curriculum. Scaling up the footprint of ICT skills acquisi on in the primary and post-prima- ry educa on curriculum is another important area. The same level of a en on needs to be paid to the three other sectors in the youth pri- ority category: entertainment, hospitality and agribusiness.

3.3.3. Addressing Private Sector Skills Gap

According to the NBS19 , Nigeria’s labour force popula on rises by over 2.6 million annually, as calculated using a ve-year average. Many of these labour force entrants are graduates of ter ary ins tu ons, who nevertheless lack the necessary knowledge, skills and competencies required in the workplace. Most graduates of- ten nd themselves armed with only general and theore cal knowledge, therefore nding it di cult to meet the demands of the workplace. This results in addi onal cost for employers who have to spend signi cant resources on training and re-training of these graduates.

To address this challenge, more interac ons are required to strengthen school-to-work tran- si on and linkages. We propose that the gov- ernment should review the Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS) to further enhance synergies be- tween the private sector and the fresh gradu- ates.

A more strategic long-term policy need is the development of a Na onal Skills Policy and Na onal Programme that will address the skills and capability challenges across all sectors in Nigeria. To inform the design of this policy and programme, a skills-gap assessment of industry skills needs is of utmost importance. The ev- er-changing technological requirements for sus-

18 — BPSR — Tackling youth unemployment in Nigeria: A policy note

Young men lounge in commercial tricycle. © Mark Fischer

tained compe veness in the global economy present the case for a skills-needs assessment in the private sector. In recent years, new indus- tries have emerged thus providing opportuni- es for the development of new skills and tech- nical competencies, while exis ng industries constantly require skills upgrade. Given these factors, it is important to conduct a skills-gap assessment across key sectors to reveal the re- quired private sector skills to enhance produc- vity and value crea on.

3.4. Data Gathering and Informa on Mapping

3.4.1. Benchmark Informa on about Youth Employment Programmes

Most youth employment programmes remain highly dispersed and incomplete. This informs the existence of gaping holes in the availabili- ty of data and basic informa on on youth em- ployment-related programmes. In fact, monitor- ing data such as number of youth employment programme bene ciaries and project spending is not readily available for most programmes. Apart from the failure to map necessary infor- ma on on the implementa on process of the executed projects, some government agencies o en fail to compile or provide needed informa- on on target groups, number of bene ciaries

and par cipants, the total cost of projects and their nancing sources. In this scenario, project monitoring and evalua on would be near im- possible.

There is need for a complete inventory, diag- nos cs and pro ling of exis ng youth employ- ment ini a ves for the purposes of gathering basic informa on on programme concep on, design, ac vity details, number of applicants, number of bene ciaries and programme costs and results, among others. E ec ve M&E sys- tems would also trigger a virtuous feedback loop to the programme management to inform correc ve ac ons based on results and adapt programmes’ future design and implementa- on to improve performance. We recommend a review of exis ng na onal and sub-na onal youth-focused employment programmes for the purposes of e cient coordina on, informa- on gathering and e ec ve impact assessment.

3.4.2. Benchmark Informa on about Youth Employment Programmes

Colla on of sectoral and rm-level data on the labour market in terms of labour demand and the required skills is key to addressing the youth unemployment challenge. Labour market infor- ma on covering both the formal and informal sectors will be necessary to inform youth em-

BPSR — Tackling youth unemployment in Nigeria: A policy note — 19

ployment-related policy. To address the skills mismatch problem, which is prevalent in the context of youth unemployment in Nigeria, there is need for regular and up-to-date collec- on of representa ve rm-level data for em- ployers’ needs. This is the major gap that should be lled in modera ng labour demand-labour supply mis ts. Very robust rm-level data are rare among macro- and socio-economic data- sets in Nigeria. Furthermore, there is need to strengthen the rela onship (where it exists) be- tween the private sector and data-genera ng agencies/ins tu ons on the need for regular and comprehensive data repor ng regarding the number and type of vacancies adver sed by private sector players. As it stands, various data agencies are underfunded and as such su er from incapacity to collect the informa on need- ed by employers on a regular basis to inform ef- fec ve policy cra ing and implementa on.

A more detailed analysis and categoriza on of the exis ng labour demand is necessary to iden fy the skills gap in the rm-level labour market. This ul mately can in uence further demand-driven interven ons and ini a ves. This is a sure way to go in addressing and tack- ling di eren al levels of skills and inclina on at both na onal and sub-na onal government levels. Therefore, capturing the di erent types of jobs that are required and matching this with basic sta s cs of the unemployed creates opportunity for e ec ve policy cra ing and implementa on. As a ma er of urgency, the Nigerian government, in collabora on with the private sector, needs to develop a robust and solu ons-based approach to mapping youth un- employment in Nigeria through a na on-wide exercise designed to match the youthful demo- graphic with available jobs.

3.4.3 Unemployment Data Disaggrega on

Data quality and availability are crucial in im- proving the e ec veness of policy decisions and government programmes aimed at address- ing youth unemployment. While NBS has re- corded signi cant improvement in ensuring fre- quent repor ng of quarterly unemployment and underemployment data, much more s ll needs

to be done in disaggrega ng reported data. For instance, the NBS does not produce data on the types of unemployment among labour market par cipants, disaggregated unemployment data by states and reasons for the unemployment. The absence of such data undermines policy- makers’ e orts towards understanding the un- employment challenges and designing e ec ve policies and programmes in response.

Also, the breakdown of unemployment data by states and by reasons why the youth are unem- ployed will reveal varia ons of the unemployed across di erent states and enable the design of e ec ve and targeted government policies and programmes. This will also aid the knowledge about the most vulnerable unemployed popula- ons both in terms of loca on and factors driv- ing unemployment, the understanding of which are crucial to policymakers. With disaggregated data, policymakers will over me understand how e ec ve their policies and programmes have been in addressing some of the unemploy- ment challenges in the country.

3.5. Clear Ac on Agenda for the Nige- rian Youth

Nigeria does not have an agenda for its youth. The Na onal Youth Policy, which is expected to provide an appropriate policy framework to address the challenges of the youth, was last updated in 2009 and is out of touch with the reali es of the Nigerian youth. The absence of such a framework coupled with the dearth of robust data will predictably result in uncoor- dinated approaches towards youth develop- ment, with unclear deliverables and impacts. The Federal Ministry of Youth Development needs to strengthen the review process of the Na onal Youth Policy and its Implementa on Strategy. Such a policy framework should rec- ognize the energies and resourcefulness of the Nigerian youth and determine appropriate pol- icy ac ons to harness such. It must also iden — fy priority areas for youth development, de ne clear roles and responsibili es of youth-related

20 — BPSR — Tackling youth unemployment in Nigeria: A policy note

government ins tu ons/agencies, clearly state the resources required for policy implementa- on and iden fy measures for suppor ng youth ini a ves both in rural and urban areas across Nigeria. In addi on, more interac ons are re- quired to strengthen school-to-work transi on and linkages. In the light of this, we propose that

the Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS) needs to be reviewed and implemented to encourage be er synergy between the private sector and fresh graduates. More urgent is the need to de- velop a Na onal Skills Policy and Programme that addresses the skills and capability challeng- es across all sectors in Nigeria.

BPSR — Tackling youth unemployment in Nigeria: A policy note — 21

Young men in taxi park in Oko Baba, Ebute Me a, Lagos. © Oluwamuyiwa Logo

Young people in Nigeria account for two-thirds of Nigeria’s unemployed and underemployed.

This policy note reviews government approaches to address
 this problem in Nigeria, and o ers new perspec ves on the strate- gic role the private and public sector can play. It considers how the framing of the problem and availability of data has undermined pre- vious a empts, and looks to more informed approaches to tackle youth unemployment in Nigeria.