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Job creation: Okonjo-Iweala advocates community involvement

The Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Ngozi Okonlo-Iweala, has said Nigeria needs to introduce community and grassroots programmes that will help create jobs…

The Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Ngozi Okonlo-Iweala, has said Nigeria needs to introduce community and grassroots programmes that will help create jobs for women and the youths of the country in order to address some of the challenges confronting the nation.

She made the remarks on Tuesday while speaking to State House reporters after she paid a visit to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The WTO boss said she was home on a quiet visit and decided to lend voice on how to ameliorate the living conditions of citizens.

 She said: “We saw the president and focused on how we can support Nigerians at this time of need. We all know that things are very difficult for Nigerians outside, everyone is struggling. I’m here myself on a quiet visit. So this was not really an official WTO mission but we’re able to engage with Mr. President, talk about what kinds of programmes that could be put in place to make sure that the suffering of Nigerians is being alleviated.

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“And we had a really good conversation on trying to look at the community and grassroots programmes that can be put in place to create jobs for young people, trying to support women and children, who are bearing the brunt of some of the suffering in the country.”

She said she and Tinubu also discussed the creation of digital trade for small scale business owners especially women.

“We talked about how for the longer term, we need to do that investment opportunities that Nigeria can cease, including in the pharmaceutical industry. We also talked about what type of support the World Trade Organization can bring.

“We’re already working in Nigeria with women in particular, who own small and medium enterprises to try to help them upgrade the quality of their products whether it’s in the agricultural area, in textiles and in other areas so that they can sell more internationally.

“We’re trying to help them with digital trade, the wave of the future digital trade, so how do we train and empower Nigerian women and owners of small and medium enterprises so they can trade more and create more jobs.

A ministerial nominee, Professor Ali Pate, who also paid a visit to the president, told journalists that President Tinubu will improve the fortunes of the country.

“I think I will just reaffirm that Mr. President is fully aware of the difficulties that people are facing, and committed and I think doing all that he can and with his team to ensure that those sufferings are alleviated.

“That was the main thrust of the conversation that we had in terms of targeting those who are most vulnerable, women, children, youth, attracting investment opportunities that can grow the economy so that people will get some succor because the difficulties that we’re facing are transitory.

“I think with the vision of the president, there’s reason to be very hopeful that we’ll navigate through this difficult time and have a Nigeria that sees us stronger, united and conspired to the greatness that is in our future,” he said.

Pate said his discussion with Tinubu touched on how to revamp the health sector.

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