By Michael Oche
No fewer than 1.3 million youths have benefited from the various skills acquisition and youths empowerment programmes of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), in the last two years, documents obtained by Nigerian Pilot have shown.
According to the documents, between January 2020 and May 2022, the Directorate empowered 1,320,136 Nigerians under five of its intervention programmes, which includes the Special Public Works Programme; Rural Employment Programme; Vocational Skills Development programme; Women Employment collaboration and Employment Counseling Service.
The document also identified inadequate funding for programme implementation, insecurity of lives and properties, effect of climate change on agricultural activities, as some of the challenges the directorate faced in its job creation drive.
This is just as the Director General of the agency, Mr Abubakar Fikpo uged youths to embrace the various skills acquisition programme being implemented by the government through the agency, warning that “paper qualifications” are no longer enough to secure ones future
Speaking to journalists in Abuja, the Director General said The D-G noted that white collar jobs are no longer available in the country and youths must come to terms with such reality.
“They must get themselves busy with their hands and establish themselves to become employers of labour. We believe that it is a fact that the negative effect of unemployment touches virtually all households.
“Yes, it’s good to get the certificates, but it’s also good to have skills. So we want the attitude of unemployed Nigerians to change because we keep saying that certificates will not pay your bills.
“But your hands are ready-made tools for you. The moment you acquire skills, you can go to fend for yourself. You can have something to do, ‘‘he said.
Fikpo also expressed confidence that with more funding, the NDE will be able to empower more youths and ensure they become gainfully employed.
According to him, the NDE has been collaborating with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, the World Bank and other multinationals to source for funding for its graduate trainees so that they can become self employed.
He said, “Globally, we have this economic meltdown and the effect still lives with us but that does not stop us from planning and proposing.
“We have been planning, we have been proposing, we have been sourcing, we have been linking our participants to financial establishments, organisations for them to be able to access funding.
“We do not believe that we can provide them with all the necessary capital which is why we provide linkage for them. We link them up with CBN, NIRSAL among others, so that they can access funding.”