Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and ex-Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has said he is targeting the creation of job opportunities for 12 million youths in 2019 and beyond.
The ex-VP stated this in the policy document he released yesterday and obtained by us in Abuja.
He blamed lack of skills, along with poor infrastructure and a weak business climate for the deteriorating unemployment situation in the country.
Atiku said to tackle these challenges, he intends to initiate a policy that will create up to three million employment opportunities in the private sector annually within the next four years if elected President.
Specifically, the PDP presidential flagbearer said he will promote the apprenticeship system of skills acquisition, support the increase in the number of entrepreneurs in the country, encourage formal technical and vocational training as well as accelerate the growth of the real sector of the economy to open up self- and wage-paying jobs.
His words: “Unemployment is one of his priority areas of focus Nigeria’s most pressing problem today. Close to 16 million people are unemployed, 9 million more than in 2014.
“Over 2 million new entrants join the labour force each year and the labour markets are failing to keep up, leading to the unemployed share of the labour force more than tripling in less than a decade: from 5.1% in 2010 to 18.8% in 2017
“We shall re-launch the National Open Apprenticeship Programme (NOAP) with special focus on young men and women who may not have had the opportunity to attend school or complete basic education.
“We shall seek to increase the stock of budding entrepreneurs through the support of innovative business ideas, internships and apprenticeship programmes.
“We will support the formal TVET system and re-position the technical colleges and vocational skills acquisition centres to produce skills and
competencies for innovation and the creation of new ideas and products inside enterprises from where future jobs and future prosperity will derive.
“Without significant stimulation of the local economy the programmes outlined above will not be effective and the unemployment challenge is unlikely to be alleviated. Our inaction will have significant opportunity costs.
“A critical policy priority therefore, is to accelerate the growth of the real sector of the economy to open up self and wage-paying job opportunities.
“New jobs will arise from increased commercialization of agriculture, the construction and operation of infrastructure (including transportation; electricity, water supply and sewerage, real estate and telecommunications), as well as growth in financial services and new investment in manufacturing, IT and IT-enabled services.”