By John Ikani
The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has trained 500 youths in Cross River State on solar power installation and maintenance.
The training programme was organized as part of the Board’s youth empowerment and Human capacity-building initiatives and was conducted in three locations in the state, Calabar, Bekearra and Ogoja and it lasted for six months.
Speaking at the closing ceremony held in Calabar on Friday, the Director, Planning, Research and Statistics at the NCDMB, Mr. Abdulmalik Halilu hinted that the Board initiated the programme to create employment opportunities in the country, generate wealth and empower the youths to contribute to the economy of the nation.
Halilu who observed that technology, skill acquisition in trades and agriculture are some of the high-impact economic sectors, stated that the unreliability of electric power is a major challenge affecting citizens’ quality of life and the success of business enterprises in Nigeria and Africa, hence the clamour for renewable energy solutions to become a major part of the energy mix.
According to him, it was important for Nigerians to prepare and position themselves for opportunities in the renewable energy space, particularly because the nation enjoys abundant sunlight.
He harped that solar power installation and maintenance training provided an alternative source of power at homes and offices to support the national power grid in addition to providing job opportunities for the youths.
Halilu went on to disclose that as part of the end-to-end planning for the programme, the Board has concluded arrangements to register cooperative societies for the group as well as provide shops where they would practice their trades.
According to him, “the trainees will commence business as registration of cooperatives and the provision of shops in groups for the graduates has been done. This empowerment programme was aimed at providing lifelong support to youths that desired to be empowered in high-impact economic sectors including oil and gas, Information and Communication Technology, Agriculture, construction, and others”.
While commending the facilitators and the trainees, the Director said “I am confident that these graduates here are a pool of qualified talented youth equipped with capacities and capabilities to troubleshoot issues, proffer solutions, assemble, Install and Maintain Solar projects that are currently largely import-dependent”.
He implored Nigerian youths to take advantage of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Joint Qualification System (NOGICJQS), adding that the platform is used to select participants for human capacity-building interventions and employment opportunities whenever they are available.
In his goodwill address, the immediate past Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring, Rt. Hon. Legor Idagbo, represented by Mr. Ted Inyang commended NCDMB for training youths in Cross River state and congratulated the trainees, noting that energy transition is going to be the new norm for the Nigerians.
Why this is important
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the youth unemployment rate in Nigeria was 37.2% in the fourth quarter of 2022. This means that over one-third of young Nigerians aged 15-34 were unemployed.
The NBS also reports that the overall unemployment rate in Nigeria is 33.3%, which is the highest in the world.
Nigeria is home to the largest youth population in Africa, with over 70% of the population under the age of 30. This means that there is a large pool of potential workers who are unable to find jobs.
The youth unemployment rate in Nigeria has been rising steadily in recent years. In 2015, the youth unemployment rate was 22.8%. By 2020, it had risen to 32.5%.
The youth unemployment rate in Nigeria is particularly high among women. In the fourth quarter of 2022, the female youth unemployment rate was 46.8%, compared to 32.6% for male youth.
The high rate of youth unemployment in Nigeria is a major social and economic problem. It can lead to poverty, crime, and social unrest. It also prevents Nigeria from reaching its full economic potential.