MAURICE OKAFOR writes that efforts to tackle youth unemployment which is presently a national cankerworm by the present administration led by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu state, is receiving serious attention, as the state ministry of Youth and Sports has initiated a strategy known as ‘ Enugu Youth Rescue Project 2020-2023’ to curb the menace.
According to the latest report by National Bureau of Statistics [NBS], the Nigerian Youths are worst hit by the increasing unemployment rate in the country, as unemployed Nigerian Youths constitute 64 percent of the total population of unemployed Nigerians.
In as much as the federal government led by President Muhammadu Buhari has introduced the N- power programme and the 774,000 FG/NDE jobs to leverage the menace, the Enugu state government which operates a Youth friendly government is consolidating on its own initiatives, the latest in the series which is the ‘Enugu Youth Rescue Project 2020-2023.
The state commissioner for Youth and Sports, Hon Manfred Nzekwe said the project is meant to engage every youth in the state committed with one activity or another, as a measure of curtailing youth employment in the state, with its negative consequences.
Speaking during the official unveiling of the project, “Enugu Youth Rescue project 2020-2023’’ at the occasion of the 2020 International Youth Day celebration held at gymnasium section of Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium on Wednesday, August 12,
Hon Manfred Nzekwe stressed the project is born out of the desire of the present state administration led by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to enhance a better future for every youth in the state, through viable sources of income.
He stated, “Enugu state government has been able to meaningfully engage the youth through participation in different youth and sports programmes. Today, many youth of Enugu state have been appointed into different positions of authority”.
“In furtherance of youth engagement and empowerment in Enugu state, we are here today, unveiling another giant stride in youth engagement in Enugu state. This project tagged ” Enugu Youth Rescue project is captured in our action and implementation plan for 2020-2023″
“The project is designed to collect/collate and create baseline data of Artisans, Start -ups and unemployed youths of Enugu state. This is to enable government carry out intervention based on the available data and proffer direct solutions to the long standing unemployment challenges of Enugu state youths”.
Hon Nzekwe disclosed that the project will help newly trained artisans have access to funds while those already in business will be updated on trending skills.
According to him, a step in this direction will entail opening offices in each of the 17 local government headquarter of the state with the assistant of the local government chairmen for the registration of unemployed youths in their respective domain.
He mentioned previous steps taken by Governor Ugwuanyi to engage Enugu Youths meaningfully with socio economic activities to include the selection of 250 Youths from each of the 17 local government areas of the state who underwent vocational training in Agriculture, Security management and industrial/domestic production under ‘King’s mate International agencies in partnership with the state ministry of Youth and Sports/
The sponsorship of some Enugu Youths to Entrepreneurship Development Training [EDI] at Asaba Delta state between August -November 2018, which will qualify them for consideration/disbursement of loans by Central bank of Nigeria[CBN] for successful applicants.
He mentioned that Governor Ugwuanyi administration had also encouraged 100 Youths from each of the 17 local government areas in the state to participate in an Agro- business seminar tagged ‘One Youth One Farm’,as a measure of engaging Enugu Youths into productive Agricultural ventures.
Hon Nzekwe disclosed a lot of Youths are presently engaged in different arms of governance in Enugu state aftermath of ‘Enugu state Youth Town hall meeting/dailogue with the state government,an interface which took place in the three senatorial districts of the state between March 18 and April 20,2018.
He buttressed that the Governor Ugwuanyi administration has devoted much interest in the sponsorship and development of sporting activities and facilities in the state such as the Awgu Games village, as measure to pave way for Youths engagement in the state among others.