The quest by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) to tackle youth unemployment and combat poverty among young Nigerians received a boast at the weekend when Future Assured, the pet project of the wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari flagged-off a collaborative effort to train over 1,500 women in income generating activities, beginning with 200 in Katsina.
For the 200 Katsina women selected for the training programme, the days when they have to depend on their husbands to give them every dime will soon be over. For these women, there is hope that they will soon be lifted from poverty to become entrepreneurs who can generate their own income.
Speaking during the flag-off of the the training for the women in Katsina, wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari said women constitute a critical vulnerable group in the society. To this extent, carefully articulated programmes to address the peculiar needs of women must be regularly implemented.
Studies have indicated that seventy per cent of women in the country live below poverty line. Eonomists argue that with such huge percentage of the population being unable to contribute to economic growth, the nation’s economy will surely be affected.
To buttress this point, Mrs Buhari said, “Unfortunately, we are at a time when the economy of the country is experiencing great challenges. On this note, all hands must be on deck for us to salvage our nation.”
She said the collaborative efforts will be replicated in other regions of the country, with another set of 200 women to commence training in Lagos soon.
According to her, “it is our sincere expectations that this efforts of ours will strengthen the hands of our women towards becoming major players in the economic development of our country. I have no doubt in my mind that when economically empowered, women in Nigeria would contribute significantly to the diversification of our national economy
“ My Future Assured programme believes strongly in empowering women in income wielding activities which in the long run will bring about inclusive growth in the economy .“
Also speaking, Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige said the APC government at the centre had made it clear from the beginning that the job deficit in Nigeria which had brought untold hardship to Nigerians and adversely affected the economy would be seriously addressed with innovative and far reaching strategies.
He said, “Between January and August this year, a total of 17,938 persons have benefited from the various skills acquisition and empowerment programmes of the NDE under the popular four-core programmes of Vocational skills, Agricultural skills, Entrepreneurial skills as well as activities in the public works sector.
“The collaboration between the wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, and the NDE in training and empowering women is another dimension to our efforts which thisnyime around seeks to give women the necessary impetus to be relevant and active in the march towards a new and better Nigeria.”
In his address, acting Director General of NDE, Mr Kunle Obayan enumerated the new measures being introduced by the government through the Directorate in tackling youth unemployment in the country.
He said, “that mass unemployment is a serious challenge facing our country is no longer news. What should be news are the effective initiatives at mitigating the situation.
“The social burden of mass unemployment has made it imperative for any responsible government the world over to think outside the box in order to address the ugly trend. The twin problem of unemployment and poverty constitute unpleasant distractions to any government because they lead to a multiplicity of anti-social conduct which continue to engender more poverty and social imbalance.
“The principle of partnership or collaboration in tacklingmass unemployment is the paradigm shift that will drive the new quest for employment for all classes of the unemployment in Nigeria.