The Federal Government has inaugurated a Technical Working Group (TWG) on Youth Employment and Skill Development to handle the increasing youth unemployment and skill development in the country.

Inaugurating the committee recently, in Abuja, the Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba, said that the TWG was a collaborative project of Budget and National Planning with the World Bank, which he said had been continuously supporting the development of the country.

He commended the World Bank for continuously supporting the development of Nigeria, adding that, this was reflected in various socio-economic development initiatives being supported by the World Bank across the length and breadth of the country in collaboration with the Ministry.

The Minister noted that addressing youth unemployment was a major concern to the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, hence, it had received several interventions in recent years with a number of proactive mechanisms put in place to reduce unemployment rate among youths in the country.

He listed some of those interventions to include various programmes captured in the National Social investment Programme, including the N-Power programme, Government Enterprises Empowerment Programme (GEEP) and a host of others.

Agba said, “It suffices to say that one of the key mandates of Budget and National Planning is to undertake surveillance of the national economy, which includes the conduct of periodic reviews and track sector performance with a view to attaining specific growth and development including unemployment and other social vices.

“It is on the basis of this that the National Planning Arm of the Ministry has embarked on periodic reviews so as to coordinate any programme that can promote and scale up youth employment opportunities, skill development and empowerment of citizenry for livelihood. All these are contained in the major thrust of the National Development Plan (NDP 2021-2025)”.

The Minister pointed out that the present administration “is committed to providing an enabling environment for the creation of 21 million full-time jobs and lifting 35 million people out of poverty by the year 2025 as encapsulated in the NDP: 2021-2025.”

Agba who assured the participants of government’s commitment towards creating jobs for the teeming youths said: “This therefore makes it imperative for urgent steps to constitute a technical working committee that will serve as a think-thank for solving and addressing youth employment in Nigeria and the inauguration of the TWG on youth employment and skills development is one of the immediate steps that the government is taking on Youth employment, empowerment and skill development in Nigeria.”

The Minister disclosed that the population of Nigeria was estimated to have reached 217,079,601 as of August 25, 2022 based on Worldometers elaboration of the United Nations data with the youth population accounting for 70 percent of the 217 million which stands at a huge 151 million youth….

“It is also estimated by (ILO) that 12.6% of youths in the global labor force are unemployed amounting to about 74.6 million youths. In Nigeria, about 53.40% of youths are unemployed according to youth unemployment rates released by the National Bureau of Statistics in 2022.”

Membership of the TWG was drawn from the Ministries of Labour & Employment; Education; Women Affairs, Agriculture and Rural Development; Trade and Industry, Youth and Sports Development; and Communication & Digital Economy.

Others are from Agencies & Extra-Ministerial Departments, including, Small Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN), Industrial Training Fund (ITF), National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), National Directorate of Employment (NDE), National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Office of the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Job Creation and National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).

Membership from the Private Sector Organizations was drawn from Elumelu Foundation, Dangote Foundation, Mastercard Foundation, Youth Alive Foundation, Dalberg, Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), as well as the Development Partners & Donor Agencies, including the World Bank,

Terms of Reference (ToR) of the Committee are:
– Coordinate analysis, policy dialogue, and strategic planning for youth employment and skill development (YESD) in Nigeria;
– Relate with development partners, private sectors and civil society organizations to support government programs and policies on YESD at both the federal and state levels in Nigeria;
– Produce periodic reports on multisectoral interventions on YESD programs in Nigeria; and
– Undertake strategic actions as may be mandated by the Hon. Minister of State, Budget and National Planning among others.

In a good will message, the representative of the World Bank and senior economist (Education Global Practice), Dilip Parajuli, said the Bank would support both the Federal and State Governments on policy reforms.

He also stated that the World Bank would support the government to identify some of the constraints in the areas of information, youth unemployment and policy recommendations.

In her  remarks earlier, the Chief Executive Officer Designate of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Samachi Chris-Asoluka, said that the Foundation had over the years been mentoring and training  young Africans to create jobs and alleviate poverty on the continent.

She pointed out that since 2015, over 1.5 million Africans had been trained in various business skills while 18,000 of these people had been provided with funding support, including over 10,000 from Nigeria.