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HomeAnalysisUnemployment: Population not Nigeria's problem but lack of ideas, initiatives-Engineer Sule

Unemployment: Population not Nigeria’s problem but lack of ideas, initiatives-Engineer Sule

as 95 participants graduate from entrepreneurship training

Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, has said that population is not the problem of Nigeria when it comes to unemployment but the lack of ideas and initiatives among the youths.

Engineer Sule stated this during this year’s employability and entrepreneurship training programme for youths, organised by the Human Capital Development Office, in Lafia, on Friday.

According to the Governor, with what is presently happening in countries like India and China, with their population of over one billion people each, Nigeria’s population could not be the reason for the high rate of unemployment but the absence of ideas and initiatives mostly among the youths.

While restating the commitment of his administration towards youths and women, especially on human capital development, which explains why the state government is deliberately embarking on the training of youths across the state to become entrepreneurs and self reliant, as well as employers of labour.

“Entrepreneurship is the major way out. We are not the most populous country, I don’t think population is our problem. Because if you look at what is happening in other countries, such as India today, that are having a population of over a billion people, as well as China, with over a billion people, then you know population is not really our problem. Ideas, initiatives and entrepreneurship are our major problems,” he stated.

He pointed out that, no government is in position to employ all the graduates from the nation’s universities and other tertiary institutions, stressing that, even though his administration continues to promote industrialization, when the industries come, they may not be able to employ everybody.

“We in Nasarawa State continue to promote industrialization but even the industries we are bringing they will not be able to employ everybody. No matter how much you do, you won’t be able to engage everybody. People must be independent,” he emphasized.

Drawing from his experience while staying at the United States, where he went to school and worked, Engineer Sule said the major employers of labour are the small scale entrepreneurs who employ 5, 10 or 15 workers but who cumulative provide jobs for 60 percent of the total working population.

The Governor expressed confidence that, with the participants graduating just after the state government signed a N500m facility with the Bank of Industry, they will be able to access resources to set up businesses of their own.

He appreciated the presence of the Lafia branch manager of the BOI at the event, adding that, it’s his hope that the graduates of the training will qualify to access funds from the bank to start their businesses.

The Governor used the opportunity to commend the state human capital team, chaired by the state Deputy Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Akabe, SSA on Human Capital Development, Hajiya Habiba Balarabe Suleiman, as well as the consultants for the programme, Poise and Oxfam.

Earlier, in a welcome address, Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Human Capital Development, Hajiya Habiba Balarabe Suleiman, said the Employability and entrepreneurship training was a deliberate policy by the Engineer Sule administration to equip youths in the state with 21st century skills.

Hajiya Habiba said the 2022 training and job fair was different from the previous ones held in 2020 and 2021, which was meant to address the shortcomings of the previous exercises.

“In 2021, we had some employers from the private sector come up with request for persons with particular requirements which were not met.

“This and other challenges we experienced such as low regards for the actual knowledge gained, high expectation of free financial reward even when we stated severally that there wasn’t any, low comprehension of subject matters in the English language which is the generally accepted language for teaching in Nigeria, and below average discipline of the participants driven by a huge false sense of entitlement,” she explained.

The SSA on Human Capital Development said, in order to address these lapses and more, this year’s programme, which was the third edition started on October 17th, saw the participants learn 94 topics in different course contents such as awareness and self-worth, dressing to win, goal settings, impression management and presentation skills.

Others are marketing strategy, business model canvass, team bonding and team building, customer service excellence, work ethics, courtesy language and polite expression.

The participants also studied emotional intelligence, pitch deck, business and personal finance management, time management, business plan writing, CV writing and business writing etiquette letters.

She added that, the selection process for the programme has been improved with applicants now able to apply online, which saw 1764 applicants applying for the 2022 programme, with 994 applicants from Nasarawa State.

After screening the applicants, 294 were discovered to be more qualified, out of which the first 100 were picked with a little adjustment to ensure state-wide participation.

She used the opportunity to appreciate the Governor for his dedication to human capital development and his efforts towards securing and improving the quality of lives of the people of the state.

On her part, Managing Director of Poise Nigeria, Mrs. Ebele Chukwujama, noted that the rise in unemployment in the country, 18.8 % in 2017, 27.1 in second quarter of 2020, 32.5% in 2021 and currently 33%, informed the decision of the firm to initiate a number of trainings to address youths unemployability and entrepreneurship.

Mrs Chukwujama said, so far, Poise, with the support of donor agencies, through the Poise Graduate and Communal Support Foundation, has so far trained and empowered 20,000 youths across Lagos, Edo and recently Nasarawa State, through the career kickstart programme.
She explained that 95 successful participants are graduating from the programme in Nasarawa State.

The Poise MD added that, during the three weeks intensive training participants were exposed to 21st century youth essential skills that were contained in the 94 courses that were taught during the programme.

“We created a plethora of trainings to address specific areas such as employability and entrepreneurship skills for youths who own start-ups, ICT and digital design and technology skills for youths and teenagers, with educational and disadvantaged backgrounds,” she added.

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