By Tanko Mohammed
President Muhammadu Buhari has committed to the creation of more jobs, focusing the private sector, targeting more youthful population by streamlining priority on agriculture, arts, entertainment, mining and Information Technology.
The president made the commitment at a Presidential Conference with the Participants of Senior Executive Course 42 of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies at the State House, Abuja, on Thursday.
He noted that the focus of the group’s research for the year, “Population Growth and Human Capital Development: Challenges and Opportunities’’, was most appropriate in timing, and the recommendations would be fully considered.
He said: “I have no doubt that you have evaluated the theme given to you. I can assure you that many of your recommendations would be considered to further enhance Human Capital Development in the country.
“Let me reiterate that our administration is committed to diligently pursuing investments in people, especially in our youths as well as most vulnerable and poorest members of society.
“We will study and explore the creative and innovative recommendations in your report and direct implementations as soon as possible.’’
The president told participants of Senior Executive Course 42 that his administration had made tremendous efforts at diversifying the economy and reducing heavy dependence on the oil sector for government revenues and foreign exchange earnings.
“We are refocusing the economy on agriculture, agro-processing, arts, entertainment, mining, manufacturing, information technology and labour intensive industries to generate millions of jobs for our teeming youths and able-bodied Nigerians, while gradually integrating the economy into the global economy.
“This administration developed the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan for 2017–2020, which focused on economic diversification and stabilization, making the business environment more competitive, as well as achieving macroeconomic stability by means of fiscal stimulus and improving the balance of external trades.
“We focused the plan on key sectors such as energy, agriculture, manufacturing, infrastructure, especially rail, roads, broadband networks.
“We have made considerable progress in food production, especially in rice. We will continue to encourage private capital for infrastructural development through Public Private Partnerships,’’ he said.
Buhari noted that efforts had been made in putting in place various programmes to equip Nigerians, particularly the youth, with requisite skills for employment, entrepreneurship, and wealth creation.
According to him, such programmes include the Presidential Youth Empowerment Scheme, N-Power scheme, Youth Entrepreneurship Support Programme, Graduate Internship Scheme and Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria programme.
The president said the Federal Government had taken steps to harmonise all operations related to technical and vocational skills development by all Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
He added that this had culminated into a new partnership between the Industrial Training Fund and Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association under a special initiative called the Technical Skills Development Project.
“In addition, Government is implementing the Special Public Works programme to provide employment opportunities to 774,000 youths across the 774 local government areas of Nigeria.
“We have also recently introduced N75 billion Nigeria Youth Investment Fund, of which N25 billion have been provided in 2021 Budget. All of these are consistent with our policy of positioning the youth for strategic leadership in different fields of endeavor,’’ he said.
He commended management and members of faculty of the National Institute for getting participants of Senior Executive Course 42 to focus on a theme and present a report as experts on the subject matter.
In his remarks, the Director-General/Chief Executive officer of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Prof. Habu Galadima, thanked the President for providing strategic and purposeful leadership for the country in spite of daunting challenges.
He also lauded the administration for ably handling the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Director-General noted that the participants for Senior Executive Course 42, 2020, were properly guided by daily briefs and guidance of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
“We thank you for enormous investments in the people of this country through highly commendable programmes designed to take Nigerians out of poverty. One can only imagine the magnitude of the outcomes if these investments were not made,’’ he added.