FEATURE ARTICLE

Temple Chima UbochiSaturday, March 8, 2014
ubochit@yahoo.com
Bonn, Germany

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UNEMPLOYMENT IN NIGERIA:
“GOING THIRSTY IN THE ABUNDANCE OF WATER” (17)


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Continued from Part 16

Tourism is our second biggest industry in terms of the people it employs (Ed Rendell)

One of the most important branches of the Egyptian economy is tourism. No bikinis, no tourism. So they have to decide what to do (Shimon Peres)

Every user of the river down here understands that a healthy river is absolutely vital for a healthy economy and a healthy tourism industry (Jay Weatherill)

We will have a border that is open for business, open for tourism, open for legitimate travelers; but that is closed to terrorists and drug pushers and smugglers and others who seek to break the law (Paul Cellucci)

o acknowledge the importance of job creation and how bad the unemployment rate has gotten in Nigeria, the main opposition party and rival to the People's Democratic Party, on Thursday 06.03.2014, unveiled its manifesto and code of ethics. There and then, the party said that job creation is its number one priority. At the Congress Hall of the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, the APC said that it has ten principles by which the party commits itself to Nigerians. A copy of the code of ethics, which was signed by the party’s leaders including its 16 governors, stated that APC is committed to working towards a nation that is economically and socially vibrant, peaceful, just and secure. The APC said the test it has adopted for all its policies as contained in the manifesto is “Will this policy create jobs and benefit the youth and ordinary Nigerians?” It said the cardinal principle of its manifesto is the commitment to a nation where every citizen has the opportunity to work and earn a decent wage, and where the disadvantaged elderly, the disabled, and the unemployed are assisted by the state. The APC said it is committed to a nation where the curse of corruption is no longer tolerated in its political, social and civic affairs. In details, the APC manifesto has job creation as its first. It says that roughly one in four Nigerians, and half of young job seekers are unable to find work, adding that the number of people whose jobs do not cover the cost of food and housing is even greater. APC then promised to create 20,000 jobs in each state of the federation immediately for those with a minimum qualification of Secondary School leaving certificate and those who participated in technology and vocational training. It said it will encourage state governments to focus on employment creation by matching every one job created by the state government with two jobs created by the Federal Government. APC also promised amongst so many other things that:

  • it will provide a direct conditional monthly cash transfers of Five Thousand Naira to the twenty five million poorest and most vulnerable citizens upon demonstration of children’s enrolment in school and immunisation, in order to help promote job empowerment.

  • it will provide allowances to discharged but unemployed Youth Corps members for 12 months while they seek jobs or acquire training and skills for job placement or entrepreneurship.

  • it will establish plants for the assembly and ultimately the manufacture of phones, tablets, computers and other devices.

  • it will pay a guaranteed indexed-link price to farmers to ensure that there is always a readymade market for their produce.

  • it will provide one meal a day for all primary school students which will create jobs in Agriculture, including poultry, catering and delivery services.

For this writer, these things are easier said than done; because, the APC politicians were mainly those who lost relevance in PDP and decided to jump ship, over to APC. They were in PDP for so many years and didn’t effect or influence the changes they are talking about now. Who’s sure these people have changed their worldview and attitude for real or are they saying what they want Nigerians to hear in order to hoodwink them into voting for APC, and then, the beat will continue going on unchanged? There’s no difference between PDP and APC as far as this writer is concerned.

Ways to create jobs in Nigeria. Let’s start with:

Tourism:

It was Paul Theroux who wrote “I don't look down on tourism. I live in Hawaii where we have 7 million visitors a year. If they weren't there, there would be no economy. So I understand why a tourist economy is necessary”, and, Benigno Aquino III, who has been the 15th President of the Philippines since June 2010, noted that “Tourism is a crucial industry that could employ millions of Filipinos, skilled and unskilled alike, across those 7,107 islands of the Philippines. From the current projection of 3.3 million tourist arrivals in 2010, our aim is to eventually attract 6 million tourists. In the process, we expect to create 3 million jobs in the next six years” The main thrust of government policy on tourism, should be to generate foreign exchange, encourage even development, promote tourism based rural enterprises, generate employment and accelerate rural urban integration and cultural exchange. Nigeria is a country of 36 states with over 30 beaches across different states. Nigeria is a country that has many things to offer and its stunning beach resorts are some of the best. The white sand, the sparkling waters and the tall palm trees, create an exceptional environment that most people would simply love. As online Nigeria put it, Nigeria offers a wide variety of tourist attractions such as extended and roomy river and ocean beaches ideal for swimming and other water sports, unique wildlife, vast tracts of unspoiled nature ranging from tropical forest, magnificent waterfalls. Other attractions include traditional ways of life preserved in local customs; rich and varied handicrafts and other colourful products depicting or illustrative of native arts and lifestyle, and the authentic unsophisticated but friendly attitude of many in the Nigerian population. The problem is that many of these attractions are still largely untapped and even at their raw states. The lack of required modern infrastructural facilities and the country’s acute conditions of underdevelopment and poverty are what many potential Nigeria bound tourists may not like to be confronted with. The government depends only on oil and doesn’t see tourism as a potential source of foreign income and a creator of jobs. Nigeria has what many other countries are looking for, but, instead of making good use of them, we depend only on oil for everything, and that has failed us.

Many countries depend on tourism to boost their economy and to create millions of jobs. Egypt, Kenya etc depend a lot on tourism to create jobs and revenue, infact they survive from it. Travel and Tourism have potential to create jobs, generate exports and stimulate investment. World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), on 19th October, 2011, quoted the Prime Minister of Malaysia of saying that tourism is a key to that country’s economic transformation. Malaysian Prime Minister, Dato' Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak, on joining the UNWTO/WTTC Global Leaders for Tourism Campaign (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 17 October 2011), said that tourism has a crucial role in transforming Malaysia into a high-income country by 2020. The Prime Minister spoke of the importance accorded to the tourism sector by the Malaysian Government. Malaysia has clearly recognised tourism as a powerful driver of economic growth, as set out in the country’s Economic Transformation Programme. The Prime Minister said that by specifically targeting tourism, the Government is providing the sector the support it needs to contribute to Malaysia’s medium term growth. David Scowsill, President/CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) said: “The importance of Travel & Tourism as a driver of Malaysia’s economy is clear. Travel &Tourism makes a contribution of 5% or MYR124.7 billion of GDP in 2011 to the Malaysian economy and supports 1.6 million jobs or 13.8% of total employment. The Prime Minister added that “tourism preserves, conserves and protects Mother Nature”.

Nigeria is rich in natural beauty like long blue beaches, rivers and lakes, forests, breathtaking views of the waterfalls and soothing environment. The Nigerian government has failed to tap into the the natural beauty Nigeria has in abundance to generate foreign income and jobs. Nigeria has a wide range of tourist activities to offer. It is a coastal country and the main attraction for the tourists is the long beaches and the marine activities. Apart from these, there are the historical monuments, the tropical forests, the wildlife, art and culture and the lifestyle of the country which can be explored. In the 1970s, the Nigeria National Parks showcased live pictures of the wildlife. There were many animals of various breeds kept in the Nigeria National Parks, but, mismanagement, hunger and poaching have wiped out these animals. National Parks should have served as revenue generator and job creator for Nigeria, as they do for South Africa, Namibia etc. Zuma Rock, Yankari National Park, Old Oyo National Park, Cross River National Park, Kamuku National Park, Chad Basin National Park, Kainji National Park, Obudu Cattle Ranch, Nigerian National Museum etc should have been upgraded for revenue and job generations.

There are impediments to tourism in Nigeria, which the government must tackle to make that sector attractive to investors and tourists. For Investors, both foreign and local, to come and invest in the abundant tourism potentials in the country, there should be economic liberalisation policies which will then provide investment opportunities in various areas. Transportation system in Nigeria has to be improved upon, especially the water recreation transportation, air and rail services. Package tour services, development of caves, tunnels, waterfalls, spring waters, youth hostels, camps and centres, lake and river sport fishing centres, scenic and mountain holiday resorts, theme/amusement parks, conference/congress services should be developed. There should be beach and coastal resort development (Nigeria has over 700km of unpolluted sandy beaches). There have to be conservation and protection of the 8 national parks and over 10 game reserves. Conservation and protection of endangered wildlife, heritage, cultural and archaeological sites should be encouraged.

Hotels and standard restaurants need to be built along the shores as most of Nigeria's beautiful beaches locations are still largely without accommodation facilities. There are enormous potentials and investment opportunities in the Nigerian tourism sector; the government should court companies willing to help develop the numerous beaches dotting Nigeria’s shorelines into tourist destinations. Local hotel and restaurant groups should be encouraged to establish outlets along the shorelines, when fully developed. Some of the problems which scare people away from Nigeria are insecurity, crime and corruption, so for the government to convince foreign investors and tourists to come to Nigeria, there must be political stability, better international relation, respect for human rights, security of lives and property and the reduction of criminal activities to the barest minimum. The General Manager, Sheraton Lagos Hotel, Alexander Gassauer, told the BizWatchNigeria that Nigeria Beaches are unsafe for investment. The government should address this concern.

Before foreign investors and other interested individuals can invest in the Nigerian tourism industry with the hope of sustainability and profitable returns, the government would ensure the provision of basic infrastructural facilities, namely, good roads, water, electricity, communications etc in those locations in order to accelerate their development for the purpose of exploiting fully their touristic value. The government should enacted laws and regulations, which would govern the activities of the categories of people involved in the industry, like hoteliers, travel agents, tour-operators, car hire services. This is to ensure that their conduct is not detrimental to the objectives of the industry and the security of the nation, as well as tourists.

Taking the message and rejecting the messenger: The former Governor of Imo State, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, few moths ago, in Abuja, called on Nigerians to deemphasise seeing oil as the only source of income. He said investment in herbal medicine could also create millions of jobs in the country. He said the country had been blessed with enough wealth and natural gifts but nobody was looking in that direction. He made the suggestion during the opening ceremony of a three-day herbal products and health foods conference with the theme: "The development of novel natural products as dietary supplements, phytomedicines and nutraceuticals." Ohakim said, "You can see that we have wealth all over our country, but we are not picking them because everybody is looking at oil. Nobody is talking about the natural gifts which God has given to us. I was shocked to hear at this forum that we have over 2,000 plant species that are indigenous to us and can cure many diseases. There are many opportunities in herbal medicine; I can see life-saving products that the average common man like us can afford. When we are infected with so many diseases in this country, we run up and down looking for cure. We were also informed that a Japanese company has taken over one of our herbs and developed it into an important drink. We were informed that a Singaporean company has researched on a plant that comes from the Niger-Delta. These herbs will create jobs for millions of Nigerians".

To be continued!

TIT BITS

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWgm5L_WZLM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKKA5i_OL68

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPfnSvXWHI0

THE THANX IS ALL YOURS!!!

Continued from Part 16

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