Kwara State government says the increasing rate of youth unemployment in Nigeria now stands at 24 percent.
Saka Babatunde, senior special assistant (SSA) to Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed on youth empowerment, said this yesterday in Ilorin, at a day sensitisation workshop.
The workshop titled: “Business Conceptualisation and Planning to Access Local and Foreign loans and Grants for Kwara Young Entrepreneurs,” was organised by the office of the SSA and Kwara Agro Mall in collaboration with Founders Hub and Alumni of Tony Elumelu Foundation.
Babatunde in his address titled: “Harnessing available opportunities for start-up growth” expressed concerns over the increasing rate of youths unemployment in the country, saying: Kwara government was poised to strengthen and empower youths in the state.
The SSA said: “Youth unemployment rate in Nigeria increased to 24 percent in the second quarter of 2016 from 21.5 percent in the first quarter of the same year.
“Youth unemployment rate in Nigeria averaged 17.5 percent from 2014 until 2016 reaching an all time high of 24 percent in the second quarter of 2016 and a record low of 12 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014.
“This scary statistics shows that the young people of today face the likelihood of becoming victims of both unemployment and restiveness.”
While calling on youths in the state not to wait for the non-existent white-collar jobs, he urged them to use their various skills, creative energy and potential productively.
He said: “Nobody is born with entrepreneurial powers but the youth can tap into the power of innovation and creativity. It is in line with this over arching mindset that the State Government had conceived a brain child aimed at marching the youths out of the doldrums.”
Babatunde, who described the initiative of “Kwara Youth Empowerment Programme (KWAYEP) as a sustainable economic and start up agenda, which could not be achieved without the commitment and cooperative effort of the youth, noted that: “KWAYEP needs the resourcefulness and strength of Kwara’s youthful population to drive development at both state and national levels.”
According to Babatunde, KWAYEP had six platforms, which included promoting entrepreneurship education through basic enterprise training and business development.
He said the government of governor Abdulfatah Ahmed had provided many initiatives and intervention schemes for the youths of the state since 2011.
According to him, the Kwara Bridge Empowerment Scheme (KWABES) recruited 2, 000 youths in 2011 across the 16 LGAs in the state, 1,400 youths were absorbed into permanent employment, while 100 youths were sent for training at the new Yidi Fish farm and Malete Integrated Youth Farm.
The SSA added that 20 youths were sent for YOUEIN projects while another 10 youths benefitted from Federal Government’s Youth in Agriculture.
He listed other youth intervention schemes to include trading of 150 youths in collaboration with Kwara State University (KWASU) under the Kwara Youth Entrepreneurship (KYE), 15 youths trained at the National Peer Institute and 15 youths on honey production.
Babatunde also revealed that, 500 youths were trained in three identified vocations of Catering and Hotel Management, Aluminum fabrication and Painting, while 30 benefitted from CBN Youth Innovative Entrepreneurship Development Program (YIEDP).
He called on the youth to harness the innovation and creativity in them without waiting for anybody through KK WAYEP platforms.