The Problem Statement
Employment generation and sustainability have remained one of the most demanding aspects of social and economic policy-making in Nigeria with the National Employment Policy (NEP) as a tool for its achievement. After many initiatives, the country developed and adopted the first NEP in 2002 with the International Labour Organizations (ILO) which aims at addressing the issue of employment. The implementation and actualization of the approved document have not been effective over the years as a result of the transform and evolved nature of socio-economic and political climate of the national.
The Policy Solution
With the emerging and ever-changing new world in Nigeria and other countries, there was a review between the year 2013 and 2016 and the document and complementary implementation matrix was validated towards full & productive employment.
This led to the adoption of the definition of the National Employment Policy
(NEP) espoused by the ILO (2015), which states that NEP is:
“A vision and a practical plan for achieving a country’s employment goals; it is not just a job creation programme. It takes into account a whole range of social and economic issues. It affects many areas of government — not just the areas in charge of labour and employment—and every part of the economy. It brings together various measures, programmes and institutions that influence the demand and supply of labour and the functioning of labour markets”
The philosophy behind the design of employment policy is driven by the importance of the creation of decent and sustainable work in the Nigerian economy. This will be aided by enabling environment created by policies and regulatory regimes. The includes promoting national, economic and social policy for men and women to attain a secured and sustainable livelihood. This will be through full productive and freely chosen employment and work with the opportunity use his/her skills and endowments in a job for which he/she is well suited, irrespective of race, sex, religion, political opinion, physical disabilities, national extraction, ethnic or social origin. This will focus on the multi-sectorial character responsible for the harmonization of efforts toward achieving this goal.
Therefore, designing strategies that will promote skills and competencies for those in the formal and informal sector especially in rural areas. The involvement of the private sector and transformation of the informal sector into formal sector is not left out to enhance the integration of migrant labour on employment outcomes in the Nigerian labour market and within the West African sub-region. This will be better promoted with the creation and maintenance of a functional labour market information system (LMIS) in Nigeria.
Presently, towards the implementation of the NEP, stakeholders are committed to the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) with the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s active cooperation with the International Labour Organization (ILO).
NIGAC Constructive Position /take
With series of development and unprecedented changes that has realigned the workforce and labour market locally and internationally, the anticipated successful implementation of the policy needs to be revisited to accommodate the new diversity, expectations and knowledge boom that has ravished the whole world. That is employment and poverty challenges facing Nigeria which is quite critical as a result of the pandemic, as the country’s labour force has undergone vigorous transformations at the informal and formal sector. This is heightened with changing demographics, increasing promotion of self-employment, freelance work, co-working scope and increasing intensity of the 4th Industrial revolution economy.
Additionally, the world as rapidly become a global village with disruptive and accelerated digital transformation. This has redefined workforce management, employment portfolio, job description, human resources management, workforce delivery, international collaboration and co-working space and tools making others. The urgent need for adequate responses and a comprehensive approach to address the problems calls for reoccurring diagnostic studies and empirical-based research for gathering relevant information that will inform the realignment of National Employment Policy.
Also, with Nigeria’s working-age and youthful population, most jobs created recent times are mostly from the informal sector. For instance, 54 per cent of the 1,167,740 jobs created in 2013 came from the informal sector; the formal sector (private) accounted for 37 per cent, while 9 per cent was generated in the public sector (World Bank, 2014) which keeps gaining momentum. This calls for more labour productivity than expansion in the informal sector to alleviation poverty, improve skill acquisition, focus on agriculture to increase productivity drive, sustenance and job creation for the achievement of stated National Employment Policy objectives.
In summary, structural transformation and economic diversification of the economy inclusive and job-rich growth in the country is central to the reforms and achievement of the National Employment Policy.