The National Directorate of Employment (NDE) Monday desc ribed the current global economic meltdown as a major setback to the Nigerian go v ernment’s crusade against unemployment, according to the privately-owned Punch n e wspaper.
The paper quoted the NDE Director-General, Mallam Abubarkar Mohammed, as saying this in Minna, capital of the Niger State, during the inauguration of a vocation a l and entrepreneurial skills training programme for 1,525 unemployed youths and w omen drawn from different parts of the state.
Mohammed, according to the paper, said the economic crisis had affected the effo rts of government at all levels in addressing the problem of unemployment.
According to him, “It is an incontrovertible fact that though the Nigerian econo my has recorded some 10 per cent average growth rate over the years, this growth
has not translated into employment generation. It has been a jobless growth.”
He disclosed that the 1,525 beneficiaries of the scheme in Niger State were part of the 18,300 unemployed youths and women from some selected states to be train e d in different skills for self employment with a view to reducing poverty and jo b lessness in the country.
The director-general, who was represented by Alhaji Ismaila Omar, said the skill s acquisition programme was part of the Nigerian Government’s seven-point agenda
to reduce poverty through job creation.
Towards actualising the set objective, the NDE boss said the directorate was par tnering with the office of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to put in pla c e veritable community-based activities to be positively and judiciously exploite d by people at the grassroots level.
The programme was designed to train a total of 18,300 youth and women in 12 stat es — Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Kogi, Niger, Jigawa, Sokoto, Osun, Borno, Ondo, Ebonyi , Delta and Imo — and is aimed at consolidating the gains made over the years.
Specifically, the programme involves the training of the unemployed women and yo uths for three months and two years.
NDE said, “the training will be in the following areas; Start you own Business f or 3,600 graduates, Basic Business Training for rural agriculture development tr a ining scheme for 1,800; training in income-generating activities for 1,800 women
and vocational skills training for unemployed school leaver under the national o p en apprenticeship scheme for 11, 100 beneficiaries.”
The NDE, according to Mohammed, is not unaware of the potential of women, adding that empowering them would go a long way in enhancing their visibility towards c ontributing to national growth and development.
While calling on the beneficiaries to open accounts with the Nigerian Agricultur al, Cooperative and Rural Development Bank Development Bank through which allowa n ces would be paid to them, Mohammed challenged the benefiting youths and women t o make good use of the opportunities provided by the NDE training programme by sh u nning all social ills that intrude their sub-consciousness and subjecting them t o becoming slaves to sin.