FG Targets 20m Jobs in Buhari’s ‘Next Level’ Administration

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James Emejo in Abuja

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah Monday said the federal government had evolved pragmatic strategies that will generate about 20 million jobs from four key sectors of the Nigerian economy “within the tenure of the next level”.

He said President Muhammadu Buhari has further strengthened the drive to curtail the country’s rising unemployment by creating jobs and providing employable skills for the teeming youths, through the Industrial Training Fund (ITF).

Speaking at a stakeholders meeting on strategies for job creation by the federal government, the minister said: “In order to sustain and build on the successes recorded in this regard in the first tenure of Mr. President, we are articulating and strategising with a renewed impetus towards combating the twin evils of unemployment and insecurity.”

Enelamah added that his ministry had already charged the fund to come up with revolutionary multi-faceted job wealth creation strategies that would lead to a lasting solution to hydra-headed problem of unemployment in the country.

He was represented at the occasion by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Edet Sunday.

He said:”I am glad to inform this distinguished audience that the ITF has done justice to the task assigned to them.

“From the report I have received, the ITF has been able to propose pragmatic strategies that within tenure of the next level, will generate about 20 million jobs from four key sectors of the Nigerian economy.

These key sectors are the agriculture, construction, transport and the services sectors. The report, which is to be presented to us shortly by the ITF Director-General, forms the crux of this meeting.

“The meeting will be expected to examine all the aspects of the report with a view to dissecting all the recommendations therein and proffering additional strategies and action plan that will lead to jobs for all Nigerians.”

Meanwhile, Director General/Chief Executive, ITF, Mr. Joseph Ari, lamented that unemployment had resulted in “needless incidences of violence, criminality and social vices perpetrated by persons that ordinarily should be contributing significantly to the development of our dear nation.”

He said those who should be earning sustainable livelihoods are barely able to eke out a living, stressing that the number of people who are without jobs in the country remained scary and staggering “and should be a source of worry to any administration that is as committed to the welfare of Nigerians as the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.”

Nevertheless, the ITF boss pointed out that there had been visible evidences of the federal government’s efforts to get Nigerians engaged from initiatives including social Investment programmes as N-Power, trader-moni, Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme (GEEP) and Home Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSF) as well numerous skills acquisition programmes being implemented by ITF and other agencies.

“The federal government has done enough to be applauded,” he said.

According to Ari, the fund has equipped over 450,000 Nigerians with life skills and empowered all the beneficiaries with start-up packs within the last two years.

He added that over 80 per cent of the number are currently earning sustainable livelihoods in either paid employment or are successful entrepreneurs who are employing others.

He said the stories were similar in a number of agencies with mandates to empower Nigerians with skills for employability and growth.

He, however, wondered: “The question that comes to mind is this: why the continued rise in the number of the unemployment figures despite these efforts?

“The answer to this is simple: governments alone, as seen in societies that have reduced unemployment to single digit figures, cannot do it alone. Indeed, in all societies that unemployment is single digits, they relied on sectors other than government.”