The Federal government of Nigeria stated that empowering youths in the country alone might no longer solve the problem of unemployment in the country.
Sunday Dare, Minister of Youths and Sports Development, explained that consistent investment on youth is pivot to fight unemployment in Nigeria. He explained that empowerment is similar to unemployment.
Minister Dare gave this remark during the House of Representatives Committee on youths and sports to defend his ministry’s 2022 budget proposal. According to him, the ministry has made a paradigm shift when it comes to youth development, by moving from empowerment rather than investing.
His words “We’ve been able to make paradigm shift when it comes to youth development and that shift is at the continental and international level. We have moved from empowerment to investing in the youths, because empowerment can no longer solve the problem of unemployment. “Empowerment is just like unemployment. We have youths that are skilled with great ideas and all our trainings is towards investing in the lives of our youths.”
During the review of the budget performance for 2021, The minister for youth development told lawmakers that N25 billion of the budgeted funds has not yet been utilized. Although he explained that the funds are about to be accessed and reimbursed for the benefit of the youths.
“We thank Mr. President for the approval of N25 billion in 2021 Appropriation Bill, the ministry is yet to utilize that money for very justifiable reasons. We are at a point which we are ready to access that money.
“And that will be a trigger to scaling up the number of youths that will benefit. As we speak today the funds released were released by CBN, administered by CBN and microfinance bank, they have the platform that process it and because it’s their money, we didn’t administer a dime out of that money.” he added
Minister Sunday Dare revealed that an estimated 6054 Nigerians had benefited from the N75 billion youths investment fund. He also divulged that the ministry has created a loan management system aimed at increasing the number of beneficiaries.
The minister said: “Last year, you will recall that Mr. President in council approved N75 billion for three years under the Nigerian Youth Investment Fund. We started out with a small advance loan from the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“We requested for N5 billion but as we speak only N2.9 billion has been released. As we speak today 6054 have benefited from the Nigerian Youth Investment Fund. We have gone ahead to make sure that our website releases the names of some of the beneficiaries and the amount they received, the sector of SMEs in which they operate.
“Our goal is to ensure that we increase the number of beneficiaries and that’s why we have developed as a ministry our own loan management system, it will give us a hundred percent control, and also open the door for us to access N25 billion directly from the finance ministry.”
He also said: “In 2022, our plan is to complete 12 youth development centers across the geopolitical zones. The aim of these development centers is to bring development directly to the youths, keep them within their immediate communities, where they can learn technical skills.
“Chairman, I took note of your admonition, the honest thing I want to speak to is the scaling, there’s no program that we will do that will be impactful unless the scale is high. We hope that the youth investment fund, the moment we get past the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), there will be a major impact when it comes to empowerment of our youths.”
Hon. Yemi Adaramodu, The Chairman House Committee on Youth Development, charged the federal government on activities and programs that will enhance the lives of the youths.
Adaramodu said, “So for Nigerian youths to be leaders there must be very deliberate action from the leadership of Nigeria especially the youth ministry. It’s not going to be stereotype. It’s like sowing a seed in the lives of Nigerian youths.