Apart from the monotonous employment routine of the various ministries and parastatals which has turned out to be inadequate in catering for the ever-increasing population of Nigerians between the ages of 18 and 35, no serious efforts were made in the past to open up other veritable means for employment opportunities. These tasks have been left to the private sector while the government acted as if all was well. No wonder, many Nigerians have given up to seek greener pasture in other countries. While battling with the attendant brain drain and an unproductive population, the creative and manufacturing industries have been the worst hit in the process, turning Nigeria into a consuming economy.
Due to the lip service paid to electoral promises by previous administrations, many were not really convinced about President Muhammadu Buhari’s promises of addressing the problem of unemployment while campaigning in 2015. But true to his words, immediately he was sworn in, efforts were made to fulfil his 2015 electoral promise on job creation for Nigerian youths which overtime gave birth to N-Power scheme.
Through the N-power programme, 500,000 jobs have been created in farming, agro-processing, financial literacy, communication, digital skills amongst a host of others. No wonder, in the past one year, the effect on the economy has been so drastic with the agricultural sector receiving a major boost and the capacity of the nation to feed her-self. According to statistics, rice importation has dropped by 95% amongst other agricultural produce, hence the nation’s ability to be self-sustaining even before the Covid-19 global lockdown.
Deep thoughts on how Nigeria would have been able to cope with the crippling effects of COVID-19, its attendant economic implications as well as inflation in prices of foodstuff as a result of scarcity reverberate. Under the watch of the Honourable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, the government has stepped up effort in ensuring that more Nigerians benefit from this laudable project.
According to recent statistics released, about 109,823 beneficiaries of the N-Power programme have now started their own businesses which represent about 22% of the 500,000 Nigerians that have benefited from this programme since its inception. It means that the government has not only succeeded in creating jobs for its citizens but has also created more employers of labour. It is reassuring to know that the Buhari-led administration through the ministry, has targeted 100 million Nigerians in the next 10 years through the creation of productive opportunities for entrepreneurship and employment.
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