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ENCOURAGING ENTREPRENEURSHIP AS A WAY OF REDUCING UNEMPLOYMENT IN BAYELSA STATE
This study examined how encouraging entrepreneurship can serve as a way for the reduction of youth unemployment in Bayelsa State, Nigeria. The main objective of the study is to evaluate how encouraging entrepreneurship can help reduce youth unemployment. The study used primary data generated from five hundred questionnaires administered to self-employed youths that manage their private businesses in Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa State, Nigeria.
The results reveal that there is a significant relationship between encouraging entrepreneurship and youth unemployment. Therefore, the study recommends that the Federal Government of Nigeria should establish training centres and the necessary equipment where youths can acquire entrepreneurial skills; as well as provide funds in form of loans that youths can easily access to set up businesses.
Background of the study
The discipline of entrepreneurship generally studies the why, when and how of opportunity creation, recognition and utilization for providing goods and services through the creation of new firms (start-ups) and within existing firms for both profit and non-profit purposes. Not all opportunity creation will necessarily be in society’s best interest. The reward structure of a society can also lead to a destructive allocation of entrepreneurial talent. The focus here is on productive entrepreneurial activity. This consists of the creation, recognition and utilization of positive opportunities in such a way that involves “innovation” or the provision of “new combinations” of products and/or processes. Entrepreneurship is the quality of being an entrepreneur, it puts emphasis on the risk and efforts taken by individuals who mange or own a business, and on the innovations resulting from their pursuit of economic success. An entrepreneur is an innovator - a generator of new ideas and business processes. The word entrepreneur was coined from a French word ‘entrepredre’ which means a person who voluntarily heads a military expedition. It was first used during the first military history in the seventeenth century (Emmanuel, 2008). Entrepreneurship has no universal definition it has been defined by many authors and individuals.
Every society across the globe has its peculiar problems and challenges. Nigeria is not an exception. As a developing country, she faces her own share of social, political, economic and cultural problems which has in no small measure affected the well-being of the populace. Such problems bedeviling the country include youth’s unemployment and the rising wave of crime, which have serious implications for the growth of the nation. Unemployment rate in Nigeria has continued to be on the increase despite the abundant human and natural resources available in the country. Chronic youth’s unemployment is evident in Nigeria. Every year, thousands of graduates are produced but there are no jobs for majority of them. Nigerian streets are littered with youth hawkers who ordinarily would have found gainful employment in some enterprise (Okafor, 2011). The large number of youths who are unemployed is capable of undermining democratic practice as they constitute a serious threat if engaged by the political class for underground and criminal activities (Adepegba, 2011; Ibrahim, 2011; Lartey, 2011; Olatunji and Abioye, 2011; Okafor, 2011).
There seems to be a consensus on the definition of unemployment. Simply put, unemployment describes the condition of people who are without jobs (Okafor, 2011). The International Labour Organization (ILO) defines the unemployed as the number of the economically active population who is without work but available and seeking work, including people who have lost their jobs and those who have voluntarily left work (World Bank, 1993). According to the National Bureau of Statistics (2009), the labour force of a country is a set of people or citizens who are willing and are able to make available at any given point in time their efforts for gainful employment, while the unemployed are the individuals with no work, but are looking for work at the time of any study. Various forms of unemployment have been identified by scholars. These include seasonal, frictional, cyclical, and structural unemployment (Adebayo, 1999; Damachi, 2001; Hollister and Goldstein, 1994; Todaro, 1992). Unemployment is a global trend but it occurs mostly in the developing countries of the world, with social, economic, political and psychological attendants. Thus massive youth’s unemployment in any country is an indication of far more complex problems (Okafor, 2009). The ILO (2007) report showed that the proportion of world unemployment is steadily increasing and that the number of those without jobs remained at an all time high of more than 195 million or 6.3 percent in 2007. For instance, in 2007, the Middle East and North Africa were the regions with the highest unemployment rate in the world at 12.2 percent, followed by sub-Saharan Africa at nearly 10 percent. East Asia’s unemployment rate of 3.6 percent remained the lowest. The report affirmed that population growth especially in South Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa was putting pressure on job creation.
Statement of the Problem
Unemployment is a socio-economic problem and every nation deals with it within their respective capacities. As could be seen from individual research reports and other government statement, the situation in Nigeria has gone out of hand as about 75 percent of those who are willing to work cannot find gainful employment in Nigeria, especially among the school leavers and graduates of tertiary institutions (NBS, 2014).
In 2019 The Bayelsa State Employment and Expenditure for Results (SEEFOR) in Bayelsa, received 46,985 applications from job seekers in Yenagoa, the state capital, who want to be employed as minor public workers.
The aim of the training was to make the beneficiaries become life-time entrepreneurs at the termination of the 12 months engagement in the SEEFOR project.
“The intention of the partnering agencies is not to continue to make them life- time beneficiaries, but entrepreneurs that will soon become renowned employers of labour,” he said.
He explained that the selection of beneficiaries were done on the basis of their special needs which included their household size, dependents on the beneficiaries.
Every year, new sets of graduates and school leavers add to the stock of unemployed youth; resulting to increased frustration and aggression against the society that have refused to provide for them. Successive governments have made several efforts to combat the menace of youth unemployment but it appears that the efforts have not impacted significantly on the level of unemployment as it has continued to be on the increase in the country. Studies such as (Ekong and Ekong, 2016; Akanwa and Akpanabia, 2013; Anyadike et al, 2012; Emeh, 2012; Ibrahim, 2010; Kaegon and Nwogu, 2012 and Udeorah, 2014), have all prescribed entrepreneurship development as a sure means of tackling the growing rate of unemployment in Nigeria. It is in line of this that this study is aimed at assessing if encouraging entrepreneurship as a way of reducing unemployment in Bayelsa state.
1.3 Aim and Objectives of the study
The major aim of the study is to examine how encouraging entrepreneurship development can combat the rising rate of unemployment in Nigeria.
However, the specific objectives are to:
Determine the level at which the state government encourages and provides entrepreneurial training.
Determine if state government encouragement in entrepreneurship can affect the rate of unemployment in Bayelsa.
Examine the degree at which the cost of doing business in Bayelsa can hinder entrepreneurship development.
Ascertain the extent in which government incentive on small businesses can influence entrepreneurship development in Bayelsa.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions were raised to guide the objectives of the study: 1. To what extent can relevant Governmental institutions and other entrepreneurial training affect the rate of unemployment in Nigeria?