Owelle Rochas: Teach Us How To Fish.

This message is a direct response to a recent promise made by the Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, that Imo State Government, will pay her unemployed graduates monthly sum of N20,000 (twenty thousand naira only). This is pure welfare system, but bad economics. The author will illustrate what he means and proffer suggestions. But it’s worthy to note also, that the author is an economist by profession and practice, therefore, the suggestions should be given due considerations, that it deserves. Imo State Government should ask these unemployed youths to offer the state or themselves one form of service(s) or another in return for these monthly payments. By accepting to do any of the listed jobs below, Imo State government would have succeeded in teaching them how to fish, instead of giving them, free fish (free money). The following jobs can be done for the state and also for themselves. (a)Street cleaning/sweeping: Assign some of them to help clean/sweep the streets in Imo State. They also could help to clear the gutters/drainages (where they can). Ask residents of the streets to observe them and certify their work before paying them. A sort of checks and balances. Where there are existing contractors doing these jobs, still assign these unemployed people to them. (b) Beautifying the state: Engage many of them in beautifying cities in Imo State, let them help to plant flowers/trees or help to water trees/plants/flowers, along various streets in different cities of Imo State. Again where there are existing contractors doing these jobs, still assign these unemployed people to them to acquire job experiences. (c) Distribute economic trees and livestock(s) to them: Dear Owelle Rochas, during one of your events/visits to London, last year (3rd November, 2012), at the inauguration of Imo APGA UK Chapter, you asked Imolites (Imo State indigenes) to plant economic trees. This is the time/opportunity for you to actualize this vision. Pay them half of the amount, and use the other half of the proposed amount (N10,000) each month, to buy each unemployed graduate seeds/economic trees to plant. In addition, you can do same by also using half of the proposed amount to buy them livestock(s) to breed. Imagine where about 5,000 youths (this is a conservative estimate) are planting about 10 economic trees monthly or imagine where 5,000 youths are getting livestock(s) monthly to breed. (d) For item (c) above, make sure suppliers are Imo indigenes, so that money will circulate among the indigenes. The multiplier effects will be enormous for the state economy. Where there are no competent local suppliers, others can supply. Japan once practised a closed economic system. (e) Identify the unemployed graduates who are skills oriented, that could be trained to become, bricklayers, carpenters, hair stylists, mechanics, painters, electronics repairs etc. Identify trainers and use half of the proposed amount and pay directly to the trainers, so that they could acquire relevant skills. Subsequent payments to be conditioned, upon progression of skills acquisition. The list above is not exhaustive. By doing any of the above, they would acquire lifelong skills. They could also have working experiences for future job references. These would also engage them productively. There would be added value to Imo State economy. The activities above would also occupy their time. Remember an idle mind is a devil’s workshop. C.V.Akuta UK 22/5/13.

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