Creating jobs without creating wealth: the illusion of government performance

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creating jobs

During wars, almost everybody in the society is fully employed and having several jobs.[1] Government spends much resources on arms, ammunitions, propaganda and damage control. It employs many people to deceive, monitor, detain, intimidate, extort, reward or force others to support government’s activities and position. Government officials steadily meet to discuss strategy for suppressing real and perceived opponents, or sharing relief materials to displaced persons. The people employ themselves in the job of hiding and surviving, even at other victims’ expense. Hence, wars and crises are excellent in creating jobs to keep everybody busy without creating wealth for growing the society.


Many election candidates in Nigeria seek votes with the promise of creating jobs for millions of people. Others try to prove their ability for creating jobs by showing or exaggerating the number of employees they have. Past and present governors, presidents, chairmen, councillors, security chiefs, civil servants and businessmen flaunt their high records in creating jobs.[2] Yet, despite all these supposed testaments of creating jobs, Nigeria still depends on importation for all technical products. Thus, all these efforts for creating jobs do not result in sustainably creating wealth, not even toothpick or needles.


Creating wealth in a society is different from ordering, importing, assembling, remoulding and sharing already-made wealth from other places. Progressive societies grow from the people’s agreement[3] to develop human and natural resources for solving their problems and needs. They create wealth for solving problems and satisfying needs by applying scientific knowledge on agricultural products and mineral resources.[4] And “real wealth consists in what is produced and consumed: food, clothes, houses, vehicles, factories, schools, books, [gadgets] and churches.”[5] So, the arrangement, competence and political stability for creating wealth sustains a country’s economic progress.


Colonialists created Nigeria by brutally merging different ethnic communities and kingdoms[6][7] under an indirect rule[8] for using different sections to exploit others.[9][10][11][12] Unlike progressive countries freely collaborating for productivity, Nigeria is like a war zone operating on principles of deceit, force and damage-control. So, creating jobs in Nigeria does not imply creating wealth. Instead it implies twisting institutions for deceit (academia, religious groups and media), force (armed forces) and damage control (politics of sharing consumption, import and distribution). This is why the Federal Capital Territory, state capitals and main cities keep bustling with highly employed but unproductive people.


Presently, ministries and parastatals with several employees demand huge allocations from the sale of seized resources. Instead of supporting productivity, they depend on importation for service tools, vehicles, offices and houses. Even regulatory ministries for supporting economic growth multiply protocols to extort people and frustrate people who have productive initiatives. Then, government annually borrows recurrent expenditure funds to pay workers who lack justifiable service to creating wealth.


“When providing employment becomes the end, need becomes a subordinate consideration.”[13] Then irrelevant and unproductive jobs are invented or multiplied as avenues to suck funds from seized resources. And instead of thinking only where jobs are needed for productivity, government spenders think of where jobs can be created just to keep people busy, distracted and endlessly hopeful.


The importance of jobs in a society is measured according to how much they contribute to creating wealth for solving problems and satisfying needs. Unfortunately in Nigeria, creating jobs is not directed to creating wealth or supporting wealth-creation. Instead, creating jobs in Nigeria is colonially structured to hold or distract people from retrieving their resources for productivity.


Experiencing economic progress from creating jobs will require a social reorganization for people to retrieve and use their resources for producing and trading wealth, useful items, within Nigeria before exporting.[14] For while it is possible to create jobs without creating wealth, it is impossible to create wealth without creating jobs, better and higher jobs.


[1] Henry Hazlitt, Economics in one lesson (New York: Pocket books, Inc. 1946) p.59.

[2] Ifeanyi Onuba, “We’ll create 20 million new jobs in next four years – FG” in Punch, 27th May, 2019. retrieved 29th November, 2019

[3] Cf. Aristotle, Politics, book 1, chapter 1

[4] Walter Rodney, How Europe underdeveloped Africa, 2009 edition (Abuja: Panaf press, 2009) p.318

[5] Henry Hazlitt, op. cit. p.149

[6] Richard Dowden, Africa altered states, ordinary miracles. (New York: Public Affairs, 2010). p3

[7] Ogban Ogban-Iyan, Re-inventing Nigeria through Pre-colonial traditions, in Issues in contemporary political economy of Nigeria, (ed.) Hassan A. Saliu. (Ilorin, Sally & Associates, 1999). P77

[8] Walter Rodney, How Europe underdeveloped Africa, 2009 edition (Abuja: Panaf press, 2009) p.318

[9] Nigerian minerals and mining act 2007 act no. 20, chapter 1, Part 1, Section 1, paragraph 2 “… all lands in which minerals have been found in Nigeria and any area covered by its territorial waters or constituency and the Exclusive Economic Zone shall, from the commencement of this Act be acquired by the Government of the Federation…”  “No person shall search for or exploit mineral resources in Nigeria or divert or impound any water for the purpose of mining except as provided in this Act.”  “The property in mineral resources shall pass from the Government to the person by whom the mineral resources are lawfully won, upon their recovery in accordance with this Act.”

[10] Nigerian minerals and mining act 2007 act no. 20, chapter 1, Part 1, Section 2, paragraph 1

[11] Nigerian minerals and mining act 2007 act no. 20, chapter 1, Part 1, Section 1, paragraph 3

[12] 29th March 1978, Land use act. P7

[13] Henry Hazlitt, op. cit. p.19.

[14] Chukwunwike Enekwechi, “Organizing the national conference for a new Nigeria” in Restartnaija. retrieved 27th December, 2019