Mr Ajuri Ngelale, Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Public Affairs, says the Federal Government is committed to addressing the issue of youth unemployment.
Ngelale said this while fielding questions from journalists at a programme organised by the Mandela Washington Fellows Alumni Association, tagged: “Future of Work”, held at the CBN Training Institute, Abuja.
The presidential aide noted that the boom in the demography of graduates coming out yearly from tertiary institutions is a major challenge to employment.
While commending the organisers of the programme, Ngelale said such efforts would help to tackle the issue of unemployment in the country.
He said Government was making efforts to address unemployment problem, saying “Nobody in this administration wants to see the unemployment rate escalate in Nigeria.”
According to him, statistics show that more than a million Nigerians come out of secondary and tertiary institutions every year and don’t have access to jobs.
He noted, however, that the statistics never show the effort government was making, especially with informal jobs such as those on the farms, in the market places etc.
“But the challenge that goes unexplained is that the efforts are evident.”
Ngelale explained that government had introduced the five million dollars Innovation fund to enable the creation of about 500,000 new jobs for young people, specifically in ICT development.
He said this will also prepare our youths for the global economy that is knowledge-based.
On his part, President of the association, Lamide Johnson said that the outreach was a way to give back to the society after having been beneficiaries of the fellowship themselves.
“We create programmes that can better improve our communities; we hope to develop an action plan that will be recommended to the government.
“The kids gathered here today are all very brilliant kids and whoever among them emerges winner will walk home with a million naira prize,” Lamide said.
On her part, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, who was represented by Olufunke Oloye, urged Nigerian youths to look inward to develop their potentials.
“I urge Nigerian youths to look inward and come up with innovative ways to develop your potentials towards meeting the new trends in service delivery in line with global best practice.”
Dabiri-Erewa commended members of the association and urged them to sustain the work.
Some of the children, who spoke with News Agency of Nigeria, said they were excited to be shortlisted to attend the event.
Master Chijioke Michael and Miss Divine Augustine expressed hope that their inventions would win them the prize at the end of the competition.
The programme featured the Mandela Washington Fellowship Application Master class; Beyond School Community Challenge and Young Leaders Award.
According to the organisers, the event aims to discover, promote and encourage young Nigerians to achieve excellence through creativity and innovation.