By BEN AGANDE
ABUJA — President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, directed that the vacant positions of the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Services, FIRS, as well as that of the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, be advertised to ensure that only those who are qualified get the positions.
The President who gave the directive during the Presidential Award Ceremony of Youth Enterprise With Innovation in Nigeria, YouWin, at the Banquet Hall of the State House, Abuja noted that the essence of the planned advertisement was to give all Nigerians equal opportunities to be considered for the job.
According to him, “we are beginning to demonstrate that even in our political appointments, some of the political offices have to be advertised for all Nigerians to compete so that we select the best.
“Recently, we wanted to appoint the (Managing Directors) MDs and (Executive Directors) EDs that will be in charge of our Sovereign Wealth Fund and they were advertised to all Nigerians. You don’t need to know Mr. President to get the job as long as you are competent.
“And recently, I have directed the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and the Minister of Health to advertise two positions: Executive Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue and the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance programme to all Nigerians.
I don’t need to know who gets them. These are very sensitive offices that so many people are clamouring for them but I have asked them to advertise and get neutral body to interview them.
“We are going to do that for some of these sensitive offices that need professionals because that is the only way this government can put round pegs in round holes and square pegs in square holes. And if we are able to do that, definitely we can then get Nigeria to where these young people want it to be.
The president explained that the ultimate aim of his administration was to ensure that regions or state of origin were de-emphasised in political appointments in the country as a way to ensure progress.
The YouWin Award
The YouWin Presidential Award initiative was evolved by this administration to reward one beneficiary from each of the six geo-political zones, whose business plan was adjudged the best by a panel of distinguished entrepreneurs, within that zone under the YouWin programme.
The six Presidential award winners were part of the 1,200 youths that won grants of between N1 million to N10 million.
According to Jonathan, the rationale for selecting the six Presidential award Winners under YouWin programme was to place emphasis on the merit of their business proposal.
He said: “Nigerians should be encouraged to live anywhere in the country and do business. We must be seen as a nation to de-emphasis our geo-political zones; I’m a northerner, I’m a southerner; I’m from south-south; I’m from north east.
This does not help the growth of our nation. In fact even at the political level, this administration is committed to stop a situation where a Nigerian must know somebody before he gets something. This situation must end.”
Award winner to get FG grant between N1m and N10m
In her remarks at the occasion, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said following the launching of YouWin by President Jonathan in October last year, 1,200 persons were selected after several months of hard work and commitment by the implementation team.
She said each award winner would be provided with business finance grant from the Federal Government ranging in value between N1 million and N10 million while government would also facilitate those with no registered businesses to formally incorporate them with the Corporate Affairs Commission.
Okonko-Iweala said about 24,000 Nigerian youth submitted entries for the first stage of the competition, and to ensure widespread participation across the country, the YouWin team went around all the geo-political zones to create awareness among the youths and get the eligible people to apply through the online portal.
She said 53 per cent of winners were existing businesses while the remaining were new, adding that the three sectors represented are agriculture, 22.8 per cent; information technology and telecommunications services, 11.8 per cent and food and drink manufacturing, 9.8 per cent.