By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA – PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari Thursday in Abuja said that the social investment programmes of his administration has succeeded in lifting over five million Nigerians out of extreme poverty.
President Buhari also said that the administration within the period has created over two million direct and indirect jobs.
The President who was represented by Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, at the Global Youth Employment Forum key components of the National Social Investment Programme, including the N-Power programme stated that the Social Investment Programme has led to the creation of job opportunities in different sectors of the Nigerian economy for young persons.
The Global Youth Employment which is a creation of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) is holding outside Geneva, Switzerland for the first time since it started.
According to him, the Nigerian government recognises the need to focus attention o youth empowerment by creating an enabling environment for job opportunities and capacity building.
He said his administration decided to make investment in its people through the Economic recovery and Growth Plan which he said was the national development Blueprint.
He said there was the need to meaningfully engage with the huge global youth population and abundant skills they possess, adding that the International Labour Organization (ILO) has been Nigeria’s important ally in the promotion of Decent Work and Social Dialogue.
He said, “The immense support and assistance received from our partner United Nations (UN) agencies, notably the ILO in the areas of Policy Reviews, Institutional Strengthening; Human Capacity Development. Implementation of dedicated Programs and Technical/Financial support cannot be over-emphasized.
“The International Labour Organization has committed itself to youth employment and the future of work in Africa, with in-depth understanding of the rapidly changing demographics, the emerging world of work and the challenges of national economic stabilities.
“Nigeria places much value on her youth, who represent today and the future of our nation and we are glad that this event is bringing together selected young people from member States of the ILO from different continents to discuss an issue that is of critical importance to both the young and old which is the creation of decent job opportunities for the teeming unemployed youth.
“We note at this point that the issue of youth unemployment has assumed global significance and on the front burner of developmental discuss. The Government of Nigeria recognizes the need to focus attention on youth empowerment by creating the enabling environment for job opportunities and capacity building.
“In this connection, the present administration, from the onset, made the Investment in our People one of the key goals of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), which is the National Development Blueprint, for the period 2017 to 2020.
“The implementation of the plan through some flagship programs such as the National Social Investment Program (NSIP) has yielded some measurable outcomes in the form of increased school enrolment and creation of more jobs.
“One of the key components of the NSIP, the N-power Program and its sub-components, has led to the creation of job opportunities in different sectors of the economy for young persons.
“For example, in the past three and half years, the program has yielded over Two (2) million direct and indirect employment opportunities and has lifted over five (5) million Nigerians out of extreme poverty.
“In addition to these achievements, some sectors of the economy with high propensity for massive job creation and employment generation were specifically targeted by our Government for various forms of support. These sectors include Agriculture; Solid Minerals; Power, Works and Housing; Trade and Investment; and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“The support provided to the sectors enabled the creation of over Twenty (20) special programs and projects and creation of employment opportunities as outcomes, with ripple effects on improved standard of living for a significant segment of the citizenry.
“Furthermore, some programs of the present administration are targeted at the Informal Sector with a view to increasing their capacity to engage more employees. These include the Import Restriction Policy, the Executive Order on Ease of Doing Business, local content policy, etc., all of which are aimed at boosting the domestic economy.
“This administration similarly recognizes the creative potentials of our youths and the need to sharpen their global competitive edge. Towards this end, the Central Bank of Nigeria has introduced the Creative Industry Financing Initiative (CIFI) to improve access to long-term low-cost financing for entrepreneurs and investors in the Nigerian Creative and Information Technology subsectors.
“The objective is to boost job creation, particularly among the youth. To complement this, government is committed to building the required infrastructure and strengthening the regulatory, institutional as well as the legal environment in order to protect the Intellectual Property Rights in the Creative Industry.”
Speaking on the relationship between Nigeria and the only tripartite organ of the United Nations, President Buhari said “given the long-standing relationship between Nigeria and the ILO, I consider it in our national interest to reiterate our requests for the upgrading of the ILO Country Office in Nigeria into a Decent Work Country Technical 0ch for English speaking West African Countries.
“I also call for the support of the ILO towards the placement of more Nigerians as Associates and Experts in the ILO’s offices in Geneva. We would similarly like to see more ILO programmes and projects executed in Nigeria in view of our status in the ranks of member states.
“In Nigeria, we ate particularly conscious of the need to align the requirements of the about market with the capacity of the labour force so as to create synergy and responsiveness to the innovations and emerging technologies in the new world of work.”
Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, William Alo said that the forum provided an excellent opportunity to showcase Nigeria’s rich socio-cultural endowment to all the participant.
Alo said the theme of this Forum “Today and Tomorrow with Decent Jobs for Youth is apt in the light of the persistent global youth employment challenge and the Future of Work initiative which the LO has pieced on the front burner of international discuss.
He said “we note that the future of the world indeed rests with the youth who constitute the most productive segment of the global population. This calls for effective strategies to skill, reskill and even think outside the box in preparation for new emerging types of jobs and employment relationships.
“Events such as this remind us of the need to do things differently as we cannot continue to do things the same old way and expect different results. In 2012, the ILO had drawn the attention of its Member States to the prevalent high global youth employment problem.
“After three years of rising unemployment rates, the ILO 2018 World Employment Social Outlook forecasted a slight drop in global unemployment rate from 5.6% in 2017 to 5.5% in 2018.
“However, with ever-increasing number of persons entering into the labour market to seek employment, youth continue to face substantially worse labour market conditions than their adult counterparts.
“Nevertheless, a growing youth population, despite its challenges, can provide an important opportunity to expand the labour potential of any country.
“As a result, investing in youth education, closing gender gaps in both labour markets and education, promoting efficient school-to-work transitions and creating decent jobs have been prescribed by the ILO as a way of reducing global unemployment, especially youth unemployment”.