The Federal Government’s determination and commitment to make the youth self-employed and enhance their entrepreneurial capacity received a resounding success through the skills acquisition programme in agriculture; with the special window of opportunity provided by the Nigeria Youth Investment Fund (NYIF) for access to credit by the beneficiaries of the training.
The Minister for Youth & Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, ably represented by Mr. Emmanuel Essien (a Deputy Director in the Ministry), made this known while addressing participants/ beneficiaries of the National Youth Empowerment Programme on Sustainable Livelihood Skills Acquisition in Agriculture organised by the Ministry, which came to a successful conclusion (on 19th February 2021) at the National Youth Development Centre, Shere Hills Jos-Plateau State,
Mr. Dare said: “Skills development training for youth is one of the strategies for developing and deepening employability skills of youth.Therefore, the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports has put in place a number of skills development programmes namely, the Digital Youth Nigeria Programme, the Skills Training in Tailoring and Fashion Design, The Work Experience Programme and tne Sustainable Livelihood Skills Acquisition Programme on Agriculture.”
In a bid to further entrench Mr President’s agenda for Youth and to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty before year 2023, the Minister said: “To support the participation of youth in agricultural sector and institutionalize entrepreneurship through the development of a critical mass of fully empowered youth entrepreneurs every year in various sectors, my Ministry developed the concept of the Sustainable Livelihood Skills Acquisition Program in Agriculture.
Through the National Skills Acquisition Programme, thousands of Youths have been trained by the Ministry in diversified vocational skills at national level since the year 2007…”
In his address to participants/beneficiaries of the skills acquisition programme, the Minister further revealed that the Ministry has transited from the provision of grants to trainees to a more sustainable means of accessing credit for entrepreneurs. He said “With the establishment of the Nigeria Investment Fund (NYIF) on July 22, 2020; by the President in Council, the Ministry has moved on from provision of grants after training to a more sustainable means of accessing credit through the NYIF. The NYIF is dedicated to investing in the innovative ideas, skills and talents of Nigerian Youth.
Butressing this commitment, Mr. Dare said that “in a pilot phase in December, 2020, the NYIF Loan was disbursed to 247 individual Youth and registered businesses run by Youth, for a Loan sum of Two Hundred Fifty Thousand Naira to Three Million Naira. It is important that beneficiaries of this training programme take advantage of credit opportunities available through the NYIF and apply.”
The Minister in his speech invited stakeholders to partner with the Ministry to increase opportunities to promote investment in youth. He said: “The Ministry is open to collaboration with stakeholders and continually seeks ways to forge and strengthen partnerships on youth employment, because synergy among stakeholders will be more effective in dealing with the problem if youth unemployment.
On this note, Mr Dare urged the Youth to be “good ambassadors of the programme and to work hard to ensure that you build s business brand that is not only sustainable but able to support job creation and the economic growth of the nation.”
In his remarks, the Director of Youth Enterprise Development and Promotion Department of the Ministry, Mr. Olugbenga Momoh, who was represented by the Zonal Co-coordinator for Northern Region, Mrs. Elizabeth Pitmang; stated that the Skills Acquisition Programme in Agriculture is “a clear demonstration and commitment of all to one of the potential strategies at reducing the rate of youth unemployment, poverty and restiveness, especially among the youth and the attendant vices plaguing our nation.”
The closing ceremony, which also included an Exhibition of products in agro-allied value chain by the participants/trainees, was witnessed by His Royal Highness Adagwom Emmanuel Ajik (JP), the Adagwom Jos-Izere Chiefdom, a representative of Plateau State Commisioner of Youth and Sports, and Consultants/Trainers.