The Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Bottling Company Limited (NBC), Mr Matthieu Seguin, on Wednesday said the organisation remained passionate about the growth of Nigerian youth, especially given the current challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Seguin made this known in a statement issued in Lagos, on his endorsement, alongside other corporate organisations, of the Nigeria Business League for Youth, a private sector initiative aimed at empowering youths.
Others that endorsed the initiative, according to the statement, include Mr Jordi Borrut Bel, CEO Nigerian Breweries Plc and Mr Oyeyimika Adeboye, CEO, Cadbury Plc, during the NBC’s 2020 Youth Summit held virtually with the theme, “Positioning for the New Global Economy”.
The Nigeria Business League for Youth is a private sector initiative spearheaded by the NBC to remove obstacles impeding opportunities for youths in the country, to enable them to succeed in their chosen career paths.
Announcing the initiative, Seguin said it reflected NBC’s commitment toward supporting the social and economic development of communities in which it operates.
He said 18,000 youths had been positively impacted through the Company’s Youth Empowered Program since 2017.
“At NBC, we pride ourselves in being a youth-focused organisation that is committed to the social and economic development of the Nigerian youth.
“The events of this year have made it imperative for us to have a relook at our approach toward the development and support of young Nigerians.
“Noting the great work that many corporate organisations are doing in the way of much needed interventions for youths, it became obvious that a consortium of efforts by network of private sector organisations will go a long way in addressing the issues.
“The Nigerian Business League for Youths will do this in alignment with the National Youth Policy which provides an all-inclusive framework to ensure the realisation of the full potential of Nigerian youths,” he said.
In his remarks, Mr Sunday Dare, Minister of Youth and Sports Development, charged youths to turn the current challenges into opportunities that guarantee employment and productivity.
Dare, who was also the keynote speaker at the summit, said his ministry had started recalibrating its youth-oriented initiatives to ensure the skill sets and support needed by youths to succeed now and post-COVID-19 were delivered.
He appealed for support from privileged citizens by creating a coalition to ensure swift and coordinated responses that go beyond meeting immediate needs through palliatives.
“Our youth are not a product but a resource to harness,” he said.
Also, Mrs Ibukun Awosika, Chairman, First Bank Nigeria Plc, urged youths to reskill themselves for national development by adding vocational and entrepreneurial skills to academic knowledge. (NAN)