By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, ABUJA
THE Federal Government weekend, said that the reason for embarking on social investment programmes was to stem poverty and unemployment in the polity.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Job Creation, Mr. Afolabi Imoukhuede, who stated this at a youth empowerment programme in Abuja, also said that the government Public-Private Partnership, PPP, the policy will grow Nigeria’s technology infrastructure.
Fielding questions at the programme, tagged, “The Surge Entrepreneurship Summit”, with the theme: “Discovering Your Potential, Imoukhuede said many young Nigerians have ventured into technology, adding that technology and innovation in the last six years have taken a real surge and helped in creating a lot of job opportunities.
Asked how many jobs the government has created, he said, “As we know, jobs are not created by the government; it is the inter-relationship of the economy that creates jobs; so, the focus of the government is to ensure that we keep creating enabling environment for business to thrive; for ideas to thrive; for innovations to thrive and we do that through the various agencies and ministries of government.
“Of course, in the first term of this government, we also set up the National Social Investment Programme which we piloted directly though the president at the time; the success of that enabled us to now have a new ministry, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs …anchoring all of the social investment.
“The reason for that is basically just being able to help to stem the poverty tide because interventions in the economy do take time; while you are doing that, people are hungry; so, we use the social investment as a short term measure to stem poverty; to stem unemployment through the N-Power Programme, the Conditional Cash Transfer, the School Feeding Programme.
“But over and above that, what we are also doing through the MSMEs Clinics that we do across the states is to work the state and private sector to create opportunities; enabling environment for young people and everyone to able to discover their potential.
“And last but not least, there are a lot of young people in technology. Technology and innovation is something that in the last six years has taken a real surge and has helped in creating a lot of job opportunities.
“Our population is huge; over 200 million, of this number, 65 per cent of them are young people. So, there is a lot of pressure in terms of the way our population grows versus the way our economy grows; so, that’s the reason a summit with the focus of discovering potential is very important to enable young people inwards and really discover what they can do in creating value.
“But the reality as well is that the collaboration between the states and federal and the private sector is helping but there are still so much that we can do.
“Of course, as we are struggling to do, the COVID realities also coming; the health and economic challenge as a result of COVID.”
that whole investment was faced with limited resources in the midst of growing demands on infrastructure.
He said, “So, the first thing on the side of government is the fact that there is now a Ministry that focuses on ICT and Digital Economy; we all have a lot of states that are buying into that whole investment in their states; in setting up hubs; in setting up technology infrastructure.
“Now, that is something that we must do; but again, you also find that there are a lot of private sector investments—the amount of global fund, investments that are coming into our tech space is enormous.
“Ventures Park just two days ago announced the closure of their fund, 40 million dollars ae funds are going into investments; it is a pan African fund; Nigeria we know is going to benefit and other African can countries.
“So, the tech infrastructure will be grown by a partnership between public and private and I dare say largely the private sector.
“What you need from government is really just policy and what I saw recently as well, is that you find a lot of tech angel investors who are working with the government to define the bill that they know will unlock and open that industry; so the tech guys are doing a lot of work.”
Also speaking, the Founder of Beat 79 FM, Tosin Shoga, said, “If you look at the attributes of a leader, to be a good leader; to be able to run an enterprise successfully, communication is one of the vital ingredients of becoming successful.
“Our youths must learn how to communicate; how to share information; how to share skills; there are you know that I don’t know; once we share information among ourselves, we are at an advantage in becoming successful.”