The Presidency has said that the Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has always had youths as centrepiece of its policies. Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, in a statement made available to newsmen yesterday, provided a compendium of some initiatives put in place for Nigerian youths to reposition and empower them.
Listed among the policies were the N-Power programme, where 500,000 enrolled in two batches between 2016 and 2020, receiving N30,000 monthly, with enrolment of 3rd batch of 400,000 in progress; NYSC monthly allowance increased from N19,600 to N33,000 with more than 300,000 beneficiaries monthly; N75 billion Nigeria Youth Investment Fund (NYIF), for businesses owned by young Nigerians aged between 18 and 35. Others were Special Public Works Programme to provide three-month employment to 774,000 young Nigerians across the country; $20 million Fund for Nigerian Tech Innovators and Entrepreneurs managed by Bank of Industry (BoI); National Young Farmers Scheme: an initiative of the National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) to engage 1,000 youths in each of the 774 local government areas in mechanized agriculture; the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS) by the CBN aims to engage a minimum of 370,000 youths in agricultural production across the country, over the next three years, in collaboration with state governments. According to Adesina, the AADS’ goal is to facilitate increased private sector agricultural production of staple foods and industrial raw materials, as well as support food security, job creation and economic diversification.
“Prospective participants must provide evidence of capacity to engage youths as in-growers or out-growers to cultivate on the land after clearing,” he said. “NESP-Homes: The Mass Housing Strategy of the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP) envisages the creation of 1.8 million jobs, starting with the construction of 300,000 homes in the next 12 months, using 100% locally sourced materials for construction. “The 5M Solar Connections Programme, to expand access to 25 million Nigerians by providing 5 million new connections through the provision of Solar Home Systems, or construction and operation of mini-grids. The programme will incentivise the creation of 250,000 new jobs – particularly for young people – in the energy sector.
“Presidential Youth Empowerment Scheme (PYES) to address the needs of unskilled and less educated youths, by targeting areas of activities that are of practical importance and are essential to every aspect of our economy, including agriculture and food processing, restaurant and catering, tailoring and fashion design, welding, carpentry and joinery, etc. “Fifty-two per cent of loans disbursed by the FG-owned Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) in 2019 were to youths and women-owned businesses.
Since 2017, when the bank began operations, the DBN has disbursed more than N150 billion through the bank’s 27 Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs), impacting close to 100,000 MSMEs,” he said.