Onyejeocha: FG ‘ll Not Pay Lips Service to Youths Employment Again 

Onyejeocha: FG ‘ll Not Pay Lips Service to Youths Employment Again 

* NDE at forefront to address Nigeria’s unemployment, says LCCI

The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, has called on top managers at the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) to buckle down for the task to combat unemployment in the country to the barest minimum.

The minister said the Nigerian government has vowed to address the pressing issue of unemployment, particularly among young people, with a renewed emphasis on the National Directorate of Employment (NDE).

This commitment was made by the minister at the ongoing Lagos International Trade Fair, with this year’s theme: ‘Connecting Businesses, Creating Value’ where she addressed trainees and beneficiaries of NDE.

Onyejeocha, in a statement by her Special Adviser on Media, Emameh Gabriel, emphasised the NDE’s crucial role in tackling unemployment through the agency’s efforts in providing skills, training and entrepreneurship opportunities for young Nigerians.

She highlighted the government’s plan to launch a roadmap in the coming weeks aimed at removing over 80% of unemployed youths from the streets.

She said President Bola Tinubu’s administration is deeply concerned about the rising unemployment rate and has given a clear mandate to address this challenge effectively. 

The minister assured Nigerians that the government is committed to working tirelessly to create a more inclusive economy where everyone has the opportunity to succeed.

She said: “I am not exaggerating. I have seen the heart of the president. I have seen the team he has assembled and I have seen their hearts and commitments. I have also seen the attitude of all his appointees. I want Nigerians to give us few time and there will a big turnaround.” 

She noted that though the country is going through unavoidable hard times, with time, its fortune would be turned around for good.

“We do not have any reason to fail. We must work hard to change the narrative. We are coming up with policies and strategies that will remove 80 per cent of unemployed people from the street,” the minister said.

Onyejeocha promised that going forward, all trainees of the NDE must be empowered with reasonable starter pack that will take them off the street completely.

She called on managers at NDE to focus on combating unemployment without compromise, adding that: “The president, my principal, is really concerned about unemployment in the country.”

According to her, “I am not going to engage in an empowerment programme that after training, you give the beneficiaries N50,000 or N20,000. Because when you do that, you are simply telling them to just eat their lunch and go to bed. 

“When you train people, you train them because you want to change their lives for good. You train people because you are passionate and you want them to leave the street and lift them from poverty level. You don’t train people for political purpose.

“We must do what is right, in that way, you are connecting businesses and adding value.

“When I found myself in an environment where you have to oversee the National Directorate of Employment, I said to myself, ‘God you know why I am here. I know it’s your purpose for me to serve on what I am have passion for — providing jobs and empowering people, a thing I have been doing through my foundation in the last decades’.”

Meanwhile, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has echoed the government’s call for increased efforts to combat unemployment and poverty. 

Also speaking at the same event, the LCCI President/Chairman of Council, Dr. Michael Olawale-Cole, expressed concern about the high poverty rate in the country, with over 63% of Nigerians living below the poverty line. 

He urged the NDE to continue its impactful work in skills development and entrepreneurship training to empower young Nigerians and contribute to economic growth.

“The NDE has demonstrated its effectiveness in addressing unemployment, particularly through its skills acquisition and entrepreneurship training programmes. From 2015 to 2022, the NDE’s extended special public works programme successfully, engaged and incentivized over 760,520 participants. Additionally, the agency has harnessed the gains of agriculture value chains to create additional 74,939 jobs in the last two years,” said Olawale-Cole

On his part, highlighting the achievements recorded by the NDE, the National Director, Mallam Abubakar Nuhu Fikpo, said they have been able to harness the gains of agriculture value chains under various agricultural schemes to create additional 74,939 jobs in the last two years.

He said the trade fair exhibitions remain platforms upon which business owners connect, gain exposure and unhindered access to the business world and enhance the value of their products and services.

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