RAPID POPULATION GROWTH IS ONE OF THE PROBLEMS OF HUMAN RESOURCE UTILIZATION IN NIGERIA. WHAT CAN BE DONE TO REDUCE THIS PROBLEM? A MANPOWER ECONOMICS ASSIGNMENT Akinrodoye Adunola INTRODUCTION Population can be defined as the number of people living in any defined area at any given time. Hence the population of Nigeria consists of all the people who live in the country at any given time (Dictionary of Economics, 1998; Ojo, 1997).
Population however cannot be treated in isolation without a serious consideration for the characteristics (demographic distribution) of the population which is a pre-requisite for an effective and efficient manpower planning which will enhance human resource development and of course effective human resource utilization. The demographic distribution of any population include: age, sex, educational attainment urban-rural distribution e. t. c. According to Todaro and Smith (2006), the world population was estimated to be about 6. 1 billion and by the United Nation projections, it was placed at 9. billion by 2050 before reaching a maximum of 11billion by year 2200. It was asserted that over 90% of the projected population will be living in the developing world. These projections show a rapid population growth which call for a serious concern mainly in the developing nations. Should the above projections be real, it will in no little way affect the following social-economics indices: levels of living, national and personal esteem and freedom of choice which are significant in realizing optimum manpower utilization and consequently economic development. THEORETICAL FRAME WORK
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There are two major theories on population. These theories include: the Malthus Thomas Robert theory and the Demographic Transition theory. The Malthusaian theory postulated that population had a natural growth rate described by geometric progression whereas the natural resources necessary to support the population grew at a rate similar to arithmetic progression. He thus asserted that without restraints, there would be a continued pressure on living standards, both in terms of room and of output. Consequently, he advocated moral restraint on the size of family via birth control like abortion, rostitution, celibacy, and delayed marriage (Preventive Checks) else the nature will take over the reduction process by itself through war, famine, pestilent which may be considered as natural disasters -Positive checks (Dictionary of Economics, 1998, Ojo 1997). Reverend Malthus was however criticized for been short-sighted having base his theory on the situation in Great Britain, the existing medical advancement at that time and the improvement in technology which are capable of expanding the production frontier.
This theory is of great relevance in Nigeria and in the developing world at large as high population growth has become central to the development strategies in these countries. The Demographic Transition Theory is based on the changes from one stationary state to another. This theory divides the path to population growth into four major phases: The stationery stage known as the primitive agrarian or traditional economy, the transitional stages (2&3) and the post transitional stage. At the stationary stage, death rates and birth rates are high.
At the transitional stages, mortality rate and birth rate falls. At post transitional stage, both death and birth rates are almost at pal and the aggregate population tends to stabilize as a low natural growth is established. This theory is more relevant to the less developed countries due to their high fertility rates, declining mortality and low gross national product /per capital income. (Ojo , 1997). STRUCTURE OF THE NIGERIA POPULATION Lack of adequate, up to date and reliable data gathering, processing, administration and recording has being the bane of monitoring the nation’s population growth trend.
Sequel to this, the data from Nigerian censuses has always been supplemented by other demographic surveys to provide insight into the required characteristics (birth, death, natural growth rates, sex, age structure, geographical distribution e. t. c ) of our population. Between 1911 and 1930, Nigeria population growth was said to be modest with a growth rate of 1. 3% which increased from 19million to 30 million within the period. In 1952/53the nation population was put at 30. 4 million excluding the trust territory of Southern Cameroon. This indicates an annual growth rate of 0. % and with an improvement in medical infrastructure with the usual fertility trend; it was about 2% in the 1960s. The Nigeria population growth rate achieve the 3% point between 1963 and 1973 and was projected to reach 4% between 1983 and 1993 which was proved to be overestimated by 1993 census. The 1993 census was put at 88. 5million with an estimated growth rate of 2. 5% which characterized the entire region of Nigeria. The 2006 population census put the nation population at 140million with an estimated growth rate of about 3% (Ojo, 1997; Fajana, 2000).
TABLE 1: NIGERIA SOCIAL AND DEMOGRAPHIC INDICATORS, 1960-2025 196019701980199020002025 Total population (1000 inhabitants) 423055658178430108542 147709285823 Average rate of Population growth (%)2. 53. 03. 33. 33. 12. 7 Urbanization rate (%)14. 420. 027. 135. 243. 361. 6 Fertility rate6. 826. 906. 906. 905. 943. 54 Infant Mortality (%)1941461241058748 Age Structure (%) *0-14 years 45. 446. 346. 547. 446. 037. 6 *15-64 years52. 451. 351. 050. 1 51. 358. 9 * Over 65 years2. 32. 42. 52. 52. 73. 5 Source: The Courier, No. 144, March-April 1994 as cite in Fajana, 2000
The above shows that the percentages of the people within the dependent age are less than the percentages of people within the active labour force. It also reveals that the average population growth rate varied between 2% and 3% over the estimated and or projected period. Looking at the table one will see an increasing trend in the rate of urbanization over the period covered. All these indicators have a great implication on manpower development which determines the effectiveness of manpower utilization in the country.
The Nigeria population structure as shown above revealed a fast population growth accompanied by rapid rate of urbanization which leads to drastic change in total population characteristics with significant changes in the distribution of the labour force in several economic activities, survival of human beings, pressures on physical and ecology, unemployment, urbanization and in-formalization of the formal economic structure of the country (Fajana, 2000). HUMAN RESOURCE UTILIZATION According to Todaro and Smith (2006), human resource can be described as the number of people living in a particular country and their level of skills.
They further emphasized the importance of human resource cultural outlooks, attitudes toward work, access to information, willingness to innovate and desire for self-improvement in a country. Diejomaoh (1978) and Yesufu(1962) as sited in Anyanwu et. al (1997), defined human resource as the totality of the energies, skill, knowledge, managerial, scientific, engineering, technical, craftsmen and experience available and employed in a country in creating, designing, developing organizations, managing operating productive and service enterprises and economic institution.
Human resource utilization is the optimal use of manpower in productive activities mainly in their deployment in the right mix to meet both corporate and national needs (Ojo, 1997). However, human resource utilization in Nigeria has been greatly hindered by the following problems: Lack of executive capacity, unemployment, underemployment, mal-employment, uneven distribution of skilled manpower, high level manpower immobility, poor reward system, poor attitude to work, brain drain and rapid population growth.
RAPID POPULATION GROWTH AND HUMAN RESOURCE UTILIZATION James Grant, former Director General, UNICEF said ‘the central issue of our time may well turn out to be how the world addresses the problem of over –expanding human numbers. Every year approximately 80 million people are being added to the world’s population and almost 97% of them are in developing countries. Rapid population growths have serious consequence on the well-being of all of humanity in terms of their income, health, education, employment and general well- being (Todaro and Smith, 2006).
The issue of rapid population growth has implication on human resource utilization in the following way: • Falling level of living for people with the current and anticipated levels of population growth as rapid population increase makes it highly difficult to provide essential social services, including housing, transport, sanitation education ,health and security which are necessary in ensuring optimum human resource utilization. •Increase in labour force of the country as we are witnessing now and perhaps over the coming decades.
Consequently, unemployment, mal-employment, and underemployment become a visible and potent force to contend with due to excess supply of labour over demand for labour. •Sequel to the fore issues (pressures on the few available social infrastructure and unemployment in all it forms and variations), overcoming the human misery of absolute poverty, inadequate food supply and its attending poor nutritional situation is a bane of human resource utilization in Nigeria (Todaro and Smith, 2006). Specifically, rapid population growth rate poses a challenge to human resource utilization in the following ways (Ojo, 1997 and Fajana, 2000): 1.
Education: One of the major ways of enhancing human resource utilization in any country is through qualitative education. This however has been nose diving in standard in the recent times. The poor state of the country’s education is attributed to population pressure. Rapid population has led to an increase in the demand for education without a corresponding increase or improvement in educational infrastructures which include both human and physical infrastructure. This has resulted in ill-trained human resources which are turned out of our educational institutions every year. 2.
Employment: The major cause of unemployment in Nigeria among others is due largely to high rates of population growth by the fact that labour force has been growing averagely at about 2% to 3% yearly. The problem of over stretched educational facilities resulting into poor quality of labour force produced by our institutions also aggravates the problem of unemployment in the country. The issue of unemployment however tends to have affects the youth the more. 3. Food: Predominantly the source of growing demand for food in Nigeria is traceable to rapid population growth which is not match with increased in food production.
This led to increased importation of food. Inadequate food supply in the country has however contributed to starvation and malnutrition among the nation human resources. 4. Health: The increase in the population growth has impaired the health of the nation human resource due to the pressure on the available human and physical health resources. This has resulted into poor health services and thus has affected the complete physical, mental and social well being of the nation human resources negatively. 5. Increased Dependency Burden: High dependency burden is a consequence of rapid population growth rate.
Since increase in population signifies increase in youth which mostly fall in the dependent age, this leads to an increase in dependency burden which reduce the income of the few people that are employed. 6. Demographic Change: The demographic structure of the labour force has changed with population growth and this is not accompanied by a corresponding change in the structure of industrial employment. Consequently unemployment rates have increased. This becomes a more obvious issue as the employment regulations tends to protect older workers and thus deterring hiring of new hands. For example the last-in-first out rinciple used for lay off in cases of redundancies and the ban on recruitment during recession as resulted into high rates of unemployment among the Nigeria youth. All these issues are significant constrains to human resources utilization in Nigeria and thus required a drastic attention. RECOMMENDATIONS Nigeria’s population of over 140m is generally considered an advantage and significant selling point of the country. However on the UNDP’s human development index our population ranks 158th among 177 countries in the world. This ranking put us behind countries like Congo, Uganda, Togo and Cameroun based on the following indices: ?
Life expectancy – 48. 4 years ?Adult literacy-73% (which is 135 out of 180 countries ranked) ? Infant mortality rate-95 per 1000 births (212 out of 224 countries ranked ) Considering the above situation, the quality of the Nigeria population vis-a-vis capacity to create value is poor. Until we can improve the quality of this population, it will remain a double edge sword; potentially our strength and potentially our bane. In other word it is potentially a blessing and potentially a curse as most of the current population is actually unemployable in the 21st century knowledge based work environment.
To address this challenge, significant effort needs to be made in some of the following areas: ? Revamp of the entire educational system ?Pre-employment education ?Mentoring of our youthful population to re-instate a wholesome value system of honesty and hard work as the only route to genuine success. Consequent to our current annual population growth rate of about 2. 5% per annum, to give the nation a chance to really address the problem of man power utilization, it is pertinent to implement some population control measure.
An example of such initiative is as implemented by China which achieved a drop in birth rate from 44 per 1000 in 1970 to 18 per 1000 in 1980, prevention of 300 million births which is equivalent to the size of Europe population and reduction of poverty and creation of a platform for economic re-launch. All these was achieved by offering rewards and sanctions for one child families and extra child families respectively via higher wages , interest free loans, retirement funds, better housing, better health care and of course fine for parent with extra child. In Nigeria however, this could be done by offering the following incentives: ?
Free education for children within a specified limit, which would be lost by families with more children than the prescribed limit ? Tax rebates for families under limits with surcharges on families over the limit. In the rate at which our population is growing, there is a need to create an enabling environment where business can thrive and thus provide job opportunity for the growing population. This could be achieved by: ? Addressing matters like taxation, transparency of regulatory processes, ease of dispute resolution, easy registration processes etc. ?Improvement of base infrastructure available to business e. . power, good transport networks, health facilities security etc. Furthermore, it will be recommended that government should make a deliberate effort in encouraging firm to adopt production technology options which require the recruitment or retention of our large labour forces. This could be achieved by offering incentives for businesses that adopt labour intensive technology in form of: tax incentives for companies with a predetermined number of employees, import waivers for companies with a predetermined number of employees, and interest rate reduction for companies with predetermined number of employees.
The government should also encourage economic sectors that are traditionally labour intensive. These include: ? Agriculture and agro-allied industries: This is achievable by aggressive funding of the sector through subventions or subsidies, provision of high yield grains which would increase total food production, providing insurance cover for climatic factors to farmers to reduce their risk as done in Brazil etc. This would also involve addressing the unattractive perception agriculture has by actively encouraging farms to operate as formal corporate businesses comparable to companies in other sector. Massive construction and infrastructure development via a concerted construction program across high demand sectors like low income housing, roads, etc. In the case of rapid urbanization which is a consequent of rapid growth rate, it is therefore necessary to develop rural infrastructure so as to encourage people to stay back in the rural area by making life more comfortable for them as much as it is possible in the urban area. Hence reducing the level of population congestion witnessed in the urban area and its associated negative effects such as increasing social vices, high unemployment rate etc.
The employment policy should also be review to reflect the current demographic change so as to arrest the increasing youthful population unemployment. REFERENCES Anyanwu J. C. , Oyewusi A. , Oaikhenan H. , and Dimowo F. A. (1997), The Structure of The Nigerian Economy (1960-1997), Joanee Educational Publishers Ltd, Onitsha, Anambra. Fajana, S. (2000), Functioning of the Nigerian Labour Market, Labofin and Company, Lagos. Ojo, F. (1997), Human Resource Management: Theory and Practice, Allied Emant Company, Lagos. Todaro, P. M. and Smith, S. C (2006), Economic Development, Pearson Education Limited, England.