Last week, Dr. Isah Yinusa, Head of Chemistry Department, Federal University Lokoja and I were guest speakers on the Nigerian Chemistry Undergraduates (SCSN) National Online Platform.
I shared some thoughts on the impacts of COVID-19 on the economy that our young graduates can learn from, which I will like to summarize here:
1. Nigerian Economy which is largely dependent on crude oil revenue was weak even before the outbreak of COVID-19 but got worsened by the pandemic as oil price dropped from $57 to $15 then rose to $20 per barrel, we should all be prepared to make ‘financial adjustments’ even as we pray for quick recovery!
2. Nigeria’s current population is estimated at 200m and our 2020 budget (total expenditure) was #10.59tr (before it was reduced) while South Africa has a population of 57.78m (2018) yet a budget size of R1.95tr (approx. N40.35tr @N20.69/R1). This implies that while we are about 4 times more populous than them, their budget is about 4 times bigger than ours in size!
3. Singapore with population size of about 5.7m (2019) has a budget of $80.25bn (approx. N22tr). (Hint: 1S$=N275.2). See! Nigeria is about 35 times more populous than Singapore yet their budget size is about 2.5 times bigger than ours! Singapore’s unemployment rate stood at 3.62% while that of Nigeria is given as 23.13% (NBS, Sept.2018). If only ‘we’ can just stop looting our lean public funds!
4. Our educational system needs to be overhauled to boost graduates employability and job creation! How come many of our lecturers take delight in seeing us fail rather than succeed? I don’t know much about Arts courses but most Science and Engineering students complain that their lecturers are ‘very wicked’. Hey, don’t get me wrong, there are quite some good lecturers in our colleges and we really do appreciate them. Bottom line is our dear teachers should endeavour not to complicate our lives with poor grades in the already saturated ‘labour market’. Students should also put in their best in their studies not to ‘flex away’ your future!
5. Ironically, we are being taught to become ‘manufacturers’ by our ‘highly educated lecturers’ who have not produced anything themselves, how can this work without sufficient science/workshop equipment to ‘practicalize’ the lectures? Be wise! If you really want to delve into say ‘paint production’ upon graduation, you better look for a paint factory during your holidays engage yourself as a casual staff (3 months Industrial Attachment there is not enough!). You can then garnish it with your ‘Scientific/Engineering Theories’ and begin to shine!
6. In this digital age, any graduate that does not key into the digital economy will be left out! Learn any digital marketing skill ranging from programming, graphics, photography/video editing, app creation to blogging, that you can. Be fast about it! The era of depending on oil as our ‘national cake’ is gone! The cyberspace is the new oil field!
7. Nigeria is waiting for innovative graduates of science, engineering, medicine and other disciplines who can fix her overwhelming problems not mere ‘academic record breakers’. It’s to stand out!
PS: Join “AdasiScience Digi-Industrial Community” (Facebook group) where we focus on helping young graduates put their scientific and engineering knowledge to work as to create and build a self-reliant Nigeria. Enrol in our upcoming ‘Graduate Advantage Scheme’ on this platform- https://adasiempire.com
Special thanks to SCSN National President, Mr. Simon Thomas, entire Executives and Members of the SCSN National Body for the opportunity.
I hope you got something from our little Chemists’ Talk! Stay Safe!
Correction: The error ‘Chairman CSN Elders Council’ instead of ‘Chairman SCSN Elders Council’ which appeared on the poster (image) attached to the original post has since been corrected (deleted). Thank you.