LEST WE FORGET: OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUNG NIGERIANS, BY THE BUHARI ADMINISTRATION

The Muhammadu Buhari Administration has always had youths as centerpiece of its policies.
Here is a brief compendium of some initiatives put in place, for Nigerian youths, to reposition and empower them:

1. N-Power: 500,000 enrolled in 2 batches between 2016 and 2020 receiving 30,000 monthly, with enrolment of 3rd batch of 400,000 in progress.

2. NYSC Monthly Allowance increased from N19,600 to N33,000; more than 300,000 beneficiaries monthly.

3. 75 billion Naira Nigeria Youth Investment Fund (NYIF), for businesses owned by young Nigerians aged between 18 and 35: https://www.cbn.gov.ng/Out/2020/CCD/NYIF%20implementation%20Framework%20final%20Sept_30_2020.pdf

4. Special Public Works Programme to provide 3-month employment to 774,000 young Nigerians across the country (1,000 beneficiaries per LGA): https://specialpublicworks.gov.ng/site/

5. $20 million Fund for Nigerian Tech Innovators and Entrepreneurs, managed by BOI: https://www.boi.ng/

6. National Young Farmers Scheme: An initiative of the National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) to engage 1.000 youths in each of the 774 local government areas in mechanized agriculture: https://www.nalda.ng/#FAQ

7. The Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS) by the CBN aims to engage a minimum of 370,000 youths in agricultural production across the country, over the next three years, in collaboration with State Governments. The goal is to facilitate increased private sector agricultural production of staple foods and industrial raw materials, as well as support food security, job creation and economic diversification. Prospective participants must provide evidence of capacity to engage youths as in-growers or out-growers to cultivate on the land after clearing. cbn.gov.ng/Out/2020/DFD/GUIDELINES%20FOR%20THE%20P-AADS.pdf

8. Creative Industries Financing Initiative (CIFI): An initiative of the CBN in collaboration with the Bankers’ Committee, to provide single-digit financing for the creative sector, as part of efforts to boost job creation in Nigeria. The initiative has four pillars, namely: i. Fashion ii. Information Technology iii. Movie iv. Music. https://www.cbn.gov.ng/out/2019/ccd/creative%20industry%20financing.pdf

9. DEEL – D – Digital Skills E – Entrepreneurship E – Employability L – Leadership. Targeting more than 500,000 young Nigerians with opportunities for training and entrepreneurship and leadership: https://noya.ng/initiatives/new-deel.aspx

10. NESP-Homes: The Mass Housing Strategy of the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP) envisages the creation of 1.8 million jobs starting with the construction of 300,000 homes in the next
12 months, using 100% locally sourced materials for construction. https://nesp.ng/document/Jobs.pdf

11. The 5M Solar Connections Programme, to expand access to 25 million Nigerians by providing 5 million new connections through the provision of Solar Home Systems, or construction and operation of mini-grids. The Programme will incentivise the creation of 250,000 new jobs – particularly for young people – in the energy sector. https://www.cbn.gov.ng/Out/2020/DFD/Solar%20Connections%20Facility%20Guidelines%201.0.pdf

12. The Energizing Education Programme (EEP) is an initiative of the Federal Government of Nigeria to provide clean power supply to 37 Federal Universities and 7 University Teaching Hospitals across Nigeria (independent power plant, street lighting, development of a world class training centre on renewable energy for each university, etc). Phase 1 has already commenced to deliver
28.5MW to 9 Federal Universities and 1 University Teaching Hospital, using solar hybrid and/or gas-fired captive power plants. https://eep.rea.gov.ng/about-eep/

13. Presidential Youth Empowerment Scheme (P-YES), to address the needs of unskilled and less educated youth, by targeting areas of activities that are of practical importance and are essential to every aspect of our economy, including agriculture and food processing, restaurant and catering, tailoring and fashion design, welding, carpentry and joinery, etc.

14. Annual National MSME Awards: https://msmeclinics.com.ng/award-categories/

15. The National Survival Fund, designed to reduce the negative impact of COVID-19 on businesses, including but not limited to the following: Free business name registration for 250,000 beneficiaries; One-off Payment of N30,000 to more than 300,000 artisans nationwide; and Payroll support of between N30,000 and N50,000 per staff for between 3 (minimum) and 10 (maximum) staff of qualifying MSMEs, for 3 months. http://survivalfund.gov.ng/

16. 52% of loans disbursed by the FG-owned Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) in 2019 were to youths and women-owned businesses. Since 2017, when the bank began operations, the DBN has disbursed more than N150 billion through the bank’s 27 Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs), impacting close to 100,000 MSMEs. Development Bank of Nigeria PLC

Femi Adesina
Special Adviser to the President
(Media and Publicity)
November 25, 2020

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Written by staff

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  1. My name is Olabode Olatunji I am a proud Nigerian. I also have a French Nationality all for which I am immensely proud. Not only am I glad to belong to the two nations, I am profoundly attached to the ideology of kinsmen ship in both. Although fast becoming an old man myself, I still believe I am a Nigerian youth because at the age of 58 I still want to rule the wave Nigerian spirit you’ll say. I know that the country has suffered a setback with covid19 and the endsars protest, but an average Nigerian with conscience will know that this government is gradually opening the way to prosperity for Nigerians even though it is of general belief that it is not going fast enough.
    The problem with our country is not the focus, but the way we set about achieving our goals. As a young person arriving in France nearly 40 years ago, I saw a country that was debating its future. However, included in that future is what the French called “Le problem de la jeunesse, que fait-on?” that is youth problems, what do we do? The French realized that it is not only something to deal with, it was considered a problem. And why?, it was seen as a problem because the state realizes that the future is compromised with a functional youth age group that must be included in the National growth and so the school system was looked into. As a student of education science myself, I attended classes on egalite des chances, that is equal opportunities. That early eighties brought about a rethink and reconditioning of educational process to allow for shifts in ladder movement, that is opening up opportunities for youths of different backgrounds through education and in particular industrial based training. This ignited my curiosity, and when I decided to do my Masters, I did it on Regional Disparity of Education in Nigeria. My conclusion in my thesis, was if nothing was done and done fast, we as a country is heading for colosal disaster. This thesis earned me a top mark and I would have loved to transfer my knowledge to Nigeria to help shape the country but never had the chance. In my desperate effort, I wrote to the then President Ibrahim Babangida, dropping a letter at the Nigerian Embassy in France. I warned that we needed to do something about our educational system and that technical education will get us there. I went on to register for my PhD, with the idea of doing a doctorate on technical education as a national empowerment process. In France, to do your PhD. You must do your Master of Philosophy. That was where my efforts ended, I had to eat. Now, why did I say all these?, I’m saying all these because Nigeria already has all in place as at the time. I recounted that Taiwo was a friend of mine of Ijebu equally of Ijebu origin, we met at The Methodist boys High School Lagos where we used to go for evening classes. He was then a student of Railway Training school. I, for my sins had purported to go to Nigerian Port Authority Technical centre as an apprentice. I was keen at going into the naval school all for the same reason, become an engineer or technician. So, my question is, where did it all went wrong? Going back to France, I saw young people those as young as 15 being listed for technical studies coupled with apprenticeship and I said to myself, surely, as a nation, we have a lot in common. To cut the story short, my take is that as a nation we missed the train, all efforts now is palliative and it will only benefit those who are ready, and unfortunately for the majority it is “carrot cuite”. Already too late. However, to minimize the pressure on future government, the government has to adopt populism in the educational and training sector.
    By populism I meant to open the flood gate to massive educational programs and never cut back especially technical education. If we really want to survive as a nation and a progressive one indeed, our development has to be timed on two rails, one accelerated towards modernism and the other towards bridging the gap. This dichotomy will allow for our nation to flourish and sweep aside our lacunas by allowing everyone to have a stake in the nation building. In my previous comments I spoke about the Molue builders of Agege and Shomolu, lets’ talk about the truck builders of Kano, of Benin city and Enugu. Lets give something back to those who have been frustrated due to our rush to modernity. Yes, we do not want to turn back the hands of clock, but surely, we have a clear understanding that the buses imported from Brazil and China will never be enough to service our roads especially the interiors. Let us do a massive training in road and bridge building, let us put knowledge to use for the sake of our country. Let us train our children in building electricity poles, let us train them in building their drainages and above all, let us train them in using modern tools.
    I, among others appreciates the efforts of this government, but for it to really exemplify and demonstrate its commitments to the people, it must go the popular way. Without it the future is bleak no matter how much effort we put into it. The other day, I was on my way from Ikeja when this young boy barely the age of my son ran up to me, he wanted a lift, his white uniform turning brown, not from not washing or some sorts of grease, but from road dust. I stopped and he climbed in sheepishly. we got talking and he told me he attends Lagos state Technical college. He appeared hungry but very enthusiastic about what he does. “My mum has thought that it will be good for me to go to technical school, I could become anything you know” he claimed. I smiled and I said yes of course. I was so happy for him. I think I had few change with me and I gave him some, just to encourage him. He got up as early as 5am to get to Ikeja from somewhere on the outskirt, yet he was so enthusiastic despite his troubles. Those are the kind of children on which a country can build his future. We should go back to the drawing board.
    A country without proud citizens, is a country without citizens. I am a proud Nigerian and I wish Nigeria well. It’s not about me, it’s about our collective wellbeing. My mother, a native of Ijebu-Ode was raised in the North, till today, she speaks Hausa that lightens up whoever she comes across. Do the mathematic. I’m 58, my late brother would have been 65, yet she feels more Nigerian than most of us. God bless Nigeria and all of those who dwells in it.

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