By Enyichukwu Enemanna
The Federal Government of Nigeria is targeting the creation of new jobs to engage the teeming unemployed young population in the digital space, with the unveiling of a $617.7 million Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (i-DICE) programme next month, a statement from the Presidency had announced on Friday.
Introduced in March 2023 by the immediate past administration of Muhammadu Buhari, the i-DICE programme has not been effective.
At a meeting in Abuja on Friday, Vice President Kashim Shettima, directed the i-DICE Steering Committee to ensure the programme starts before the end of November, with the target of promoting innovation and generating job opportunities within the technology sector.
Shettima further appealed to partners of the i-DICE programme to responsibly manage the allocated funds, which he believes can transform the digital space in Nigeria.
“The peculiarity of the challenges we face in the country demands that we have to create jobs for our teeming youths to address the crises associated with youth unemployment.
“I want to appeal to all of us here to unite and see that this program takes off by the end of November this year.
“I am interested in getting a weekly update on what is being done to kick-start this program. We also need to spread out to cover the whole country so that there is inclusivity. If we judiciously utilize these funds, the target impact and anticipated benefits will be immense”, the statement quoted Shettima as saying.
“I want to assure the technical committee, all those working on this program, and our international partners, that you will get all the support that you will need. We mean business.
“My boss, President Bola Tinubu, is passionate about the transformation of this country. So, you have nothing to worry about the government’s support”, he added.
The Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, underscored the project’s significance in fulfilling President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to the youth by creating 1.2 million digital jobs.
“This $617 million project will go a long way to achieving the President’s priorities on job creation and economic growth, particularly inclusivity. One of the major elements is going to have 50% participation by women,” he added.
The Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, said, “The Nigerian technology and creative ecosystem has been doing well and is the best on the continent.
“We want to be a leader globally. And there’s no other way to do that than investing in the technology startups that are building these solutions.
“So, the government is putting its skin in the game to say ‘We want to support; we want to see more local confidence building’. And there’s no other way to show that than by putting money in some of the startups.”