The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Prof. Stephen Ocheni, on Tuesday reiterated the commitment of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to reversing the ugly trend of youth unemployment through the involvement of a broad spectrum of stakeholders in a roundtable discussion on Youth Employment and Skills Development, in partnership with the African Development Bank Group.

Inaugurating a multi-sectoral task team on the implementation of the Public-Private Round Table on Youth Employment and Skills Development in Nigeria, the Minister stated: “The Federal Government in furtherance of efforts at reversing the unacceptable trend of unemployment in Nigeria has entered into a partnership with the African Development Bank Group to engage a broad spectrum of stakeholders in a roundtable discussion on Youth Employment and Skills Development in Nigeria.”

Furthermore, Ocheni decried the disconnect in the ability to translate the enterprising and innovative of hard-working Nigerian youth into gainful employment opportunities and thriving enterprises for wealth creation and sustainable development.

He charged the newly inaugurated 20-man task team, which has the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, as the Chairman; the representative of the National Social Investment Programme, Office of the Vice President as alternate Chairperson; and a representative of the Private Sector as Co-Chairperson, to enrich the process from different perspectives towards achieving an all-inclusive success.

Ocheni said: “The Task Team is saddled with the responsibility to convene a private sector Roundtable engagement as an exchange platform towards the identification and financing of eight priority projects for accelerated Youth Employment and Skills Development. Further expectations are that the work of the Team would key into the aspirations of the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERPG) of the present administration and also boost the rate of attainment of the relevant Sustainable Development Goals in the Country.”

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Ibukun Odusote, said the inauguration of the multi-sectoral task team on the Public Private Sector Roundtable on Youth Employment and Skills Development in Nigeria marks yet another effort by the Nigerian Government to build partnerships and networks towards ameliorating the menace of high rate of youth unemployment in the country.

Odusote stressed that although the Federal Ministry of Labour has the mandate to create the enabling environment and coordinate activities on job creation and skills development in the country, “we recognize the fact that employment matters are cross-cutting in all the sectors of the economy.”

She urged all the members of the team to participate actively and be part of achieving progress towards the reduction of youth unemployment and skills incompetence among Nigerian youths.

Earlier in their separate remarks, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Job Creation, Afolabi Imoukhuede; the Regional Procurement Specialist, African Development Bank, Baba Imoru Abdulahi; and the Director Special Project unit, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Dr. Martina Nwordu, said the growing population of youth has left the country with no other option than to accelerate the creation of new and productive jobs as a matter of extreme urgency, adding that the Federal Government of Nigeria realized the importance of creating jobs for the youth or supporting them to create jobs for themselves, hence the partnership with the African Development Bank to facilitate the Public-Private Roundtable on Youth Employment and Skills Development in Nigeria.

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