Prof. Stephen Ocheni, Minister of State for Labour and Employment says the Federal Government is committed to tackling the high unemployment rate among Nigerian youths.
Ocheni said this during a one-day Consultative Meeting on the Resilience of High Unemployment Rate in Nigeria, organised by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment on Tuesday in Abuja.
According to Ocheni, the projected economic growth rate is to make Nigeria one of the top 20 world economies by the year 2020.
“The robust goals of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan cannot be achieved if a significant number of the productive population remains unemployed or under-employed.
“ The Ministry of Labour and Employment is particularly concerned about high youth unemployment among graduates and unskilled persons, which together formed over 80 per cent of unemployed persons in Nigeria.’’
He said the present administration had made giant strides in policy and programme measures that favour job creation with huge investments in the Works, Housing and Power sector.
The minister said that this had been widely acknowledged to have high propensity for job creation.
Ocheni said the approval of the National Policy on Employment which had been pending for years and the National Social Investment Programme (N-Power) were some of the programmes established to generate employment.
“Similarly, the Agricultural Anchor Borrower’s Programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is also part of the job creation models initiated by this administration, ‘’ he said.
Ocheni called on other stakeholders to support the Federal Government in its efforts to increase employment rate in the country.
“Although, provision of enabling environment for employment generation fall under the purview of the Federal Government.
“We need extensive partnerships and collaborations with our stakeholders, which you all represent to cover more grounds.
`We seek your views as experts in the field, on how to rapidly reduce unemployment in Nigeria.
“ The unemployment situation in our country demands commitment and dedication from each and every one of us because the consequences of joblessness among our youths affect us all.”
Earlier, Dr Martina Nwordu, Director Special Project Unit in the ministry, said youth unemployment was on the increase.
Nwordu said with the ongoing increased capital utilisation such as the N-power programme and the various empowerment programmes being implemented by the National Directorate of Employment, there was hope for unemployed youths.
She gave an assurance that the employment situation in the country would improve in the short to medium term.
“Employment creation and retention of jobs require multi-sectoral and multi-dimensional intervention approaches.
“Efforts have been made in the past by some line Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as Developmental Organisations with little or no impact.
“Therefore, this necessitating the need to do more to change the narrative, ‘’she said.(NAN)