From Okwe Obi, Abuja
Minister of Labour and Productivity Dr Chris Ngige has raised the alarm over the high youth unemployment, warning that the country is in trouble.
This comes as Vice President Yemi Osinbajo assured owners of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises of the Federal Government’s support in terms of loan accessibility and a fertile ground for their businesses to tackle the problem.
He spoke at an inaugural partnership economy summit organised by the Ministry of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, yesterday in Abuja, entitled “Translating Sustainable Development Goals to Local Businesses in Nigeria”.
“We are in trouble. We are facing a problem that is in a vicious cycle. We need to start to save ourselves, our children and our country,” Ngige said.
“How do we do that? We have to start making sure how we can break the central point of this vicious cycle. Breaking it means we are going to start from the root.
“If we keep on with these symptoms; buy ammunition, bomb these people, bomb kidnappers, bomb Boko Haram, you will be wasting resources.
“If you had prevented it, it would cost you less. We must give education to these people at the grassroots.
“Those who can’t get an education, we must provide them jobs so that they can fend for themselves. They can put a roof over their heads.
“So that they can eat food daily and their health will be guaranteed. If we do this, we will kill the other things because the circle is ignorance, not having education, diseases and poverty.
“My contribution is that everything we do should be ward-based, village-based. If you are talking about health, you are talking about primary healthcare; education, basic education.”
Osinbajo, who was represented by the Minister of Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, Professor Osinbajo said: “Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are the backbone of Nigeria’s economy, and this platform will support their sustainable growth.
“The Federal Government is committed to providing practical support to smaller companies at this critical time.”
The Host Minister, George Akume said the 2-day summit would garner “the fundamentals of Goals 1, 8, 9 and 17 to build the solid sustainable framework of Partnership Economy Nigeria.”
Akume added that “Partnership Economy Nigeria is a bold attempt to mobilise multi-stakeholders on a platform that generates synergy to promote wealth creation, diversification of our economy and generation of several million jobs in the economy.”