The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has stressed the need for Nigerian universities to focus more on entrepreneurship development in order to address the surging youth unemployment in the country.
He stated this in his keynote address at the 35th Conference of Association of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, which was held at the Kano University of Science and Technology (KUST), Wudil, yesterday.
The CBN governor, who was represented by the Deputy Director, Development Finance Department, Dr. Adebowale Idowu, said there was urgent need for the universities to have a paradigm shift in the academic orientation of the graduating students from ‘job seeking’ to ‘job creation’ through entrepreneurship development.
According to him, “As you may be aware, an estimated 600,000 students graduate from our tertiary institutions and enter the labour market annually, and after participating in the NYSC programme, the begin to seek the already thinned-out white collar jobs, a situation that has contributed significantly to the rising youth unemployment across the country.
“To address this trend, there has to be a paradigm shift in the academic orientation of our graduating students from job seeking to job creation through entrepreneurship development.”
Emefiele added: “Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) portend great opportunities to address these gaps and accelerate economic growth, leveraging on our vibrant youth population.”
He said as part of effort to achieve this objective, the CBN has planned to partner tertiary institutions in Nigeria to foster a culture of entrepreneurial development among the youths prior to graduation, by supporting them with start-up capital for their enterprises upon graduation.
The CBN governor said the re-orientation is also critical to the recovery efforts to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the productive sectors of the economy and the fallouts from the dwindling oil revenues accruable to the country.
“The proposed partnership will also provide a platform to build digital skills that are relevant to Nigeria’s broader developmental goals,” Emefiele said.
He disclosed that the CBN was developing a Tertiary Institutions Entrepreneurship Scheme (TIES) to re-orientate, train and finance entrepreneurship ideas among our graduates.
The CBN governor noted that: “The scheme is designed to support the development of entrepreneurial mindsets and culture through the introduction of a platform that provides seamless access to affordable finance to graduates through innovative channels for participation.
“The proposed scheme will be targeted at graduates of tertiary institutions, including universities, polytechnics, monotechnic and colleges.”
He called on the vice chancellors to support the development of the laudable initiative targeted at re-defining the contribution of the teeming graduates to the sustainable economic growth and development.