By; Jacob Onjewu Dickson
When the Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai announced that he had created 126,363 jobs I was almost tempted to clap for him for a job well done. Then I remembered that probably we had lost more than that number of jobs through his policies since he came on board on May 29, 2015.
Yes! Job creation is urgently needed to stimulate our economy and reduce the number of unemployed youths roaming the streets of our major cities. But without any prejudice, permit me to say that El-Rufai is yet to create any meaningful jobs since he was sworn-in as the Governor of Kaduna State. Instead, he has displaced thousands who were gainfully employed from various places of employment.
Those mainly affected are thousands of businesses located around Gwari/Muri Road within Kaduna metropolis. The area before now, was a printing hub that did not just attract revenue to the business owner, but to other smaller businesses that rely on their existence, as well as Kaduna State as a whole.
The “printing village” handled printing jobs from most of the northern states, thereby, attracting funds to the business owners that spend their money within Kaduna on other businesses and utilities that benefit from the thriving relationship.
Agreed that there was the need to reclaim government owned land from encroachers. But I must argue that reclaiming such land should have been done with a human face, not just for the sake of aesthetic of the environment.
We must also take a closer look at the economic loss such demolition caused on the state, seeing that Kaduna as it were, is yet to have an industry that produces building materials, with the only locally produced material among those produced being the blocks or bricks.
So who did El-Rufai create jobs for by embarking on such demolition exercises?
Still on the jobs claimed to have been created, they are not permanent jobs, as such, they cannot be called same.
“The Job Impact of ongoing interventions is over 125,000 direct jobs in Kaduna State within less than one year of the APC being in office. The estimates of these include: School feeding programme: at least 85,000 jobs, including the vendors, their staff and supervisors. School uniforms: 11,100 jobs. Rehabilitation of Schools: 7,542 jobs. Construction of toilets: 6,285 jobs. Solar boreholes: 5,028 jobs. KASTELEA: 2,550 jobs. Waste collection: 6,700 jobs. Science and Maths Teachers: 2,300 jobs,” el-Rufai said.
From the above, it is apparent that beside the science maths teacher jobs and probably the KASTELEA jobs which when added up amount to exactly 9,000 jobs, others listed above are either speculated, casual or temporary jobs that are not permanent in nature.
The biggest number being the school feeding programme amounting to about 85, 000 jobs, because even the governor himself is not sure of the actual figures, may have just ended up displacing hundreds of thousands of jobs.
This is because, each of the 4,000 primary schools in the state before now, had small traders relying on selling food to the pupils for survival. If each school had say 20 of those traders for instance, that would amount to 80,000 people who would now be looking for new ways to survive because the children no longer need to buy their alewa, rake, kuli-kuli, donkuwa, and other wares that they sell, because they are getting ‘good food’.
Though I see the school feeding as a good thing which should be supported by all well meaning Kaduna citizens and Nigerians at large, I think Governor El-Rufai, should not be in a haste to say that he has created jobs.
Let us not also forget that El-Rufai also sent thousands into a blink labour market when he disbanded the Directorate of Road Transport Services popularly known as VIO in Kaduna State a couple of months ago.
Governor El-Rufai, we know you have good plans and may just be on track but you must be reminded that it is too early a call to make that you have created than number of jobs.
By; Jacob Onjewu Dickson