By Enyichukwu Enemanna
Federal government of Nigeria says plans are ongoing to launch a roadmap that will remove over 80 per cent of unemployed young Nigerians from the labour market, Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha has hinted.
“The President, my principal is really concerned about unemployment in the country”, Special Adviser, Media, to the minister, Emameh Gabriel, quoted Onyejeocha in a statement on Thursday.
While challenging the manager of National Directorate of Employment (NDE) to be more creative in combating unemployment in the country to the barest minimum, Onyejeocha said the President Bola Tinubu-led administration has vowed to address the pressing issue of unemployment with a renewed emphasis on the NDE.
Addressing trainees and beneficiaries of NDE programmes at the ongoing Lagos International Trade Fair, with the theme: “Connecting Businesses, Creating Value”, Onyejeocha emphasised NDE’s crucial role in tackling unemployment through the agency’s efforts in providing skills training and entrepreneurship opportunities for young Nigerians.
She said: “I am not exaggerating. I have seen the heart of the president. I have seen the team he has assembled and I have seen their hearts and commitments. I have also seen the attitude of all his appointees. I want Nigerians to give us few time and there will a big turnaround.
“We do not have any reason to fail. We must work hard to change the narrative. We are coming up with policies and strategies that will remove 80 percent of unemployed people from the street.”
Onyejeocha promised that going forward, all trainees of the NDE must be empowered with reasonable starter pack that will take them off the street completely.
She said: “I am not going to engage in an empowerment programme that after training, you give the beneficiaries N50,000 or N20,000. Because when you do that, you are simply telling them to just eat their lunch and go to bed.
“When you train people, you train them because you want to change their lives for good. You train people because you are passionate and you want them to leave the street and lift them from poverty level. You don’t train people for political purpose.
“We must do what is right, in that way, you are connecting businesses and adding value.
“When I found myself in an environment where you have to oversee the National Directorate of Employment, I and said to myself, God you know why I am here. I know it’s your purpose for me to serve on what I am have passion for- providing jobs and empowering people, a thing I have been doing through my foundation in the last decades”.
Nigeria with an estimated population of 200 million houses an army of unemployed youths, with hundreds of thousands churned out from the universities annually.
Several interventions by successive administrations have not addressed the challenge linked with burgeoning insecurity across various regions, particularly terrorism in North East, banditry in North West, separatist agitations in South East and militancy in the oil-rich South South region.
President Tinubu has repeatedly assured the youths that his administration is committed to implementing policies that would raise their living standards, even as inflation bites hard amidst thousands of job losses as a result of harsh economic climate.