The Partnership Initiative in the Niger Delta (PIND) has said that introduction of novel ways of employment generation remains key to solving the developmental challenges in the Niger Delta region amid the Covid-19 disruption.
The Executive Director of PIND, Dara Akala, made this known at a virtual conference organised by PIND, tagged “Re-imagining Youth Skills Development Program and Job Creation for Positive Impact in Post-COVID-19 Economy.”
Mr Akala said leaders in the region would need to deploy new approaches to skills development in order to foster growth and development in the region.
The PIND boss noted that unemployment remains a major cause of unrest and under-development in the oil-rich region, calling on governments at all levels to tackle the menace.
He said: “The issue of unemployment is probably the most significant development challenge this time for government both at national and sub-national levels including our region, the Niger Delta. We need innovative approaches to skills development that will contribute to economic and growth post-COVID-19 pandemic.
“As a matter of fact, the region has recorded some of the highest rates of unemployment in the country and in 2018 for example, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Akwa Ibom State reported the highest rate of unemployment.
“This stood at 37.7 per cent, followed by Rivers State with 36.4 per cent, Bayelsa 32.6 per cent and Abia State 31.6 per cent and so on and forth. And this was before the advent of COVID-19 pandemic.”
on efforts made by the organisation to address youth unrest and other developmental issues, Mr Akala explained that training the youth in enterprising endeavours remains key to unlocking their potential.
He said the Foundation sought to build knowledge and devise new approaches towards skills acquisition to address post-COVID-19 unemployment crisis.
The Niger Delta region has been in the news in recent weeks following startling revelations about alleged graft and contract racketeering at the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The NDDC was set up to cater for the development of the region but over the years, very little has been added to development despite the huge resources allocated to the commission.
In his intervention at the conference, Afolabi Imuokhuede, Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Job Creation and Youth Employment, said stakeholders within and outside the region must come together to reposition young people in the region for developmental opportunities.
Mr Akala argued further that there is need to build consensus around regional collaborative efforts between states towards the adoption of some of the developmental policies in place in the region.
“PIND is willing to work in partnership with State governments through the provision of technical support, to enable them to develop the right kind of youth policies and youth employment programs that replicate or run on similar principles as NDYEP,’’ he said.