Youth Unemployment: Triggers, Consequences And The Anti-Corruption Crusade, By Celestine Okeke
According to data from the Nigeria bureau of statistics, unemployment in Nigeria stood at its highest rate in 2017, rising from 10.4% in 2010 to 14.2% in last quarter of 2016 with 3.5-11.55m people unemployed within same period
According to an NBS survey, Nigerians aged 15-35 are worse hit by the unemployment challenge. Youth Unemployment is known to have the potential of posing security threats as youths readily become willing tools for a variety of criminal activities as is evident in the continuing rise in crime and criminality in Nigeria.
The Nigerian government has rolled out a couple of interventions in the last decade, these interventions ranging from economic policies to launch of funding initiatives targeting small business owners, while on the surface these policies and interventions promise so much, research has revealed that if anything, they have continued to add to the problem as the policies are either lacking in depth and ability to address the challenge and or have become conduit pipes for government officials.
The Central Bank of Nigeria in August 2013 launched the 220bn MSMEDF (Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises Development Fund), the fund was at its launch, thought out to help small business owners access capital for their enterprises at single digits and at some point, the bank went into what has now become an unholy alliance with state governments, with a view to using the state governments to on-lend to small business across Nigeria.
CBN made provisions for state governments’/ governors’ and the FCT to borrow a maximum of 2bn for on-lending to small businesses in their states and as expected, several state governments applied for the fund, such that by May 2015, a total of 24 states had gotten a total of over 39bn from the CBN, curiously, several of the benefiting states got their disbursements between 30-60 days from the end of their tenure of office in 2015, one of such states was Jigawa state, under the leadership of Sule Lamido.
Jigawa state government received 2bn on 19th March 2015 from CBN after initial refusal to access the fund with claims that the interest component of the fund was unacceptable to his faith, interestingly, upon receipt of the fund, there was no known disbursement to any small business neither was there any known statement from the state government to the effect that it has received the fund.
When the present administration came into office in May 2015, the governor raised an allegation to the effect that Sule Lamido’s administration diverted the fund made available to the state by the CBN and promised to investigate and get to the root of the matter, but as was the case in several other states, 2years after, nothing has been heard of the much talked about investigation(s).
Independent review of the disbursements from the fund to state governments’ by the CBN revealed that there is no record existing anywhere of the end beneficiaries’ of the funds disbursed to 24 state governments’, this is not only peculiar to the CBN 220bn MSMEDF, it has remained the practice with funding interventions from the Nigerian government.
We call on the Jigawa state government to make public, the findings of the investigation into what happened to the CBN MSMEDF fund it received in March 2015, we also call on Sule Lamido to in good faith, make public, how he disbursed the fund to small businesses in the state and the CBN to make public in line with the guideline of the fund, details of end beneficiaries of the over 39bn it disbursed to 24 state governments as at May 201.
Lead Partner, MSME-ASI