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The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has restated the commitment of the Federal Government to job creation for the citizenry, with a call on the National Directorate of Employment to expand its skills acquisition programmes in order to reduce the nation’s unemployment index.

Ngige said this in Abuja during the inaugural meeting of the Board of the NDE.

Addressing the occasion, he said the NDE is a multipurpose vehicle whose mandate is anchored on creating varying programmes to ginger creativity, skills acquisition and self-reliance.

“The whole essence is to create a sustainable mechanism for job creation through skills development paradigm capable of producing a self-dependent generation of Nigerians who will not only empower themselves but also transfer the skills and replicate jobs,” the Minister said.

Ngige regretted that this noble ideal was being hampered by paucity of funds.

He said: “NDE as of today is not well funded. If it were to be rich, its mandate centering around training and equipping of trainees, empowering them with loans to set up their own businesses such as carpentry, tailoring, metal fabrication and welding, computer-based technology, mechatronics among others would be easy. But that’s not to say the NDE is not doing its best within the limit of available resources.”

He however added that it was impossible for government alone to be charged with job creation as the private sector either alone or in liaison with the government has a huge role to play, saying that the public sector which the government controls is not expected to give more than 20 per cent of jobs in a well-structured economy.

Ngige further said part of the mandate of the NDE included the comprehensive national data on unemployment and therefore enjoined it to work in alliance with the National Identity Card Commission, which is currently creating a Single Data Base for the entire country.

Speaking earlier, the Director General of the NDE, Dr. Nasiru Mohammed Ladan, re-echoed the mandate of the NDE and averred that his focus was to streamline the operations of the agency to for easy actualization of its objectives.

Ladan decried the high rate of non-compliance among the beneficiaries of its loan scheme programme but assured that the agency would continue to encourage women cooperative societies across the nation.

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