President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said his administration has put measures in place to create job opportunities for millions of unemployed Nigerians in the coming years.
The president made this known in his Democracy Day speech aired to mark the third year anniversary of his administration Tuesday morning.
Mr Buhari explained that in a bid to create jobs and facilitate investment, the government recently conducted focus labs in three key sectors of the economy.
The sectors, he said, include Agriculture and Transport, Manufacturing and Processing as well as Power and Gas.
“These have yielded significant prospects for investments and Job creation to the tune of US$ 22.5 billion with a potential for creating more than 500,000 jobs by 2020,” the president said of the initiative.
“These investment generation initiatives are expected to increase capital inflows in the form of foreign direct investment. There is a high prospect that the cumulative investments from this first phase of the Labs will hit US$39.2 billion by 2025.”
The Nigerian economy slipped into recession in 2016, after several contractons occcasioned by poor oil revenue.
The ripple effects of the recession threw many Nigerians out of the job market and worsened the nation’s already bad unemployment crisis.
In its December 2017 report, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said the country’s unemployment rate rose from 14.2 per cent to 18.8 per cent in 2017.
It also said that Nigeria’s labour population increased from 83.9 million in the second quarter to 85.1 million in the third quarter of 2017, a difference of 1.2 million in additional workforce.
The nation has since exited recesion since the second quarter of 2017, recording slow but steady growth ever since.
Mr Buhari said under agriculture, Nigeria continues to pursue a strategic food security programme built around self-sufficiency and minimization of import dependency.
“As a result”, he said, “rice importation from other countries has been cut down by 90 per cent which has a direct impact on foreign reserves.”
On capacity building, he said the Social Investment Programmes (SIP) has been created as a means to graduating citizens from poverty through capacity building, investment and direct support.
He noted that the major strategic objective is to restore livelihood, economic opportunities and sustenance for the poor across the country.
Under the Home Grown School Feeding Programme, he said, about 8.2 million pupils are currently being fed from 24 States of the Federation with over 75,000 Catering Staff engaged under the programme.
“The Conditional Cash Transfer has so far recorded over 297,000 caregivers and being trained by 2,495 Community Facilitators in 21 states,” he said.
“Less privileged Nigerians are now being paid N5,000 monthly stipend in 9 pilot States of Bauchi, Borno, Cross River, Ekiti, Kwara, Kogi, Niger, Osun and Oyo. Eventually the scheme will cover all the 36 states of the federation including the FCT.
“Under the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme – About 264,269 loans had been disbursed to 4,822 societies in the 36 States and FCT, while another 370,635 are awaiting release of funds.
The president disclosed that the N-Power Job creation Scheme is targeted at providing jobs for unemployed young graduates and has so far recruited 200,000 youths while the next batch of 300,000 have been selected, verified and would soon be deployed across the 36 States and the FCT.
“Furthermore, 20,000 non-graduate volunteers have also been selected to kick off the N-Build programme in collaboration with the National Automotive Design and Development Council and the Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria,” he noted.