BY PETER OKUTU
ABAKALIKI— Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr. Lamido Sanusi, weekend, charged corps members to demonstrate readiness to seek out investment opportunities, establish and run enterprises in line with their areas of interest or discipline, to be self-reliant, instead of waiting for non-existent jobs.
He said the empowerment of youths, especially National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, graduates, would make access to financial services more vital as it would open up a vista of untapped opportunities to grow the economy.
Sanusi said this in a paper, entitled, “Youth Empowerment as a tool for Sustainable Development: The Central Bank of Nigeria Interventions” in Abakaliki.
He stressed that youth unemployment, among other social indicators, was one of the major drivers of poverty in the country.
Sanusi, who was represented by CBN Branch Controller in Abakaliki, Mrs. Obiekwe Obiageli, stressed the need for the credit market to be unlocked with innovative interventions by the development of internal capacity that would reduce the risk of lending to the youth.
Accordinhg to him, “This call for investment in the youth than ever before. It was opined that increased investment in youth development yield greater economic growth and social well being for generations to come.
“Furthermore, missed investments in young people’s intellectual and human potential are a missed opportunity for generations and also costly to reverse, both for youth and society.
“According to the National Bureau for Statistics (NBS, 2009), youth unemployment is 19.7% of the labour force. In gender specific terms, it is 23.3% for males and 17% for female. For age bracket, 15-24
(which is the future generation), unemployment is actually 41.6%.
“Our current economic development efforts will be a snapshot if the real economic agent, the youth is not part of this transformation. Inclusive and robust economic growth will only be achieved if the
youth are adequately empowered. This is the only path to sustainable economic development.”
Pleased by the initiative of CBN, the new Coordinator, NYSC, Ebonyi State, Mr. Otaru James Eshimakhe, noted that the initiative of the bank, which was geared toward youth empowerment, was a welcome development as it would reposition the minds of corps members in the state towards
creativity, self-reliance and economic development.
He noted that of the 1,781 corps members posted to the state, only those who would take advantage of the CBN intervention schemes would become beneficiaries at the end their service year.
He added that the schemes were carefully crafted to assist in channeling the energies of the youth, particularly post-NYSC members, into positive and productive ventures designed to reduce the rate of youth unemployment in the country.
Vanguard gathered that CBN’s Entrepreneurship Development Centre, EDCs, established in the six geo-political zones in the country, recorded a total of 84,758 entrepreneurs that benefited from the centre’s activities between April 2008 and March 2011.