The National Directorate of Employment (NDE) has trained and empowered youths in Benue and Kaduna states to enable them to start a business and become self-employed.
Reports said over six million Nigerian youths are unemployed with the unemployment rate reaching 33 per cent in 2020.
In order to tackle rising unemployment, NDE said it distributed N750,000 worth of starter kits to graduate beneficiaries of its School On the Wheels in Benue.
The Director-General of NDE, Malam Abubakar Nuhu Fikpo, who gave out the equipment and tools to the beneficiaries in Makurdi, said the gesture was aimed at combating poverty among youths.
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Fikpo, represented by an official of NDE, Offia Obinna, also noted that the disbursement of the starter kits under the School on Wheels (SOW) scheme was a practical demonstration of the will of the federal government to adequately address unemployment in the state.
Also, the State Coordinator of NDE, Agada William, explained that the beneficiaries were graduates earlier trained by the agency in different vocational skills to include, shoemaking, barber services and hairdressing.
The Head of Department (HOD), Vocational Skill Development, Ene Awosika, urged the beneficiaries not to abandon the starter kits but use them to fend for themselves and their families.
The HOD of Loans, Phillip Uleh, said each of the beneficiaries got a loan of N75,000, adding that the repayment plan would span three years with a grace period of the first three months.
A beneficiary, Vande Terhile, who spoke on behalf of his 10 other colleagues, thanked NDE for the opportunity.
“We will be creating wealth and employment through the starter packs given to us. We will also use it to create a value chain in wealth creation,” Terhile said.
In Kaduna, the NDE urged youths not to depend on school certificates but to acquire skills.
Fikpo was represented by the NDE Director of Skills Development, Isa Abdu, at the resettlement ceremony of the School on Wheels (SOW) graduated trainees.
He said, “It has been predicted by world economists that there would be a global recession in 2023, and one of the recommendations is that there must be skills development, and NDE has been doing that for over 30 years.
“So, the era of depending on certificates is over, our youth must be engaged in skills development.”
The NDE head said starter packs were given to 10 graduates trained in fashion design, hairdressing, and electric fitting, among others.
The NDE Kaduna State Coordinator, Malam Ahmed Kawure, said the resettlement loan package given to the beneficiaries will help create wealth and reduce rural-urban migration.
According to him, the loan will be repaid within three years after the six-month moratorium.
From Hope Abah Emmanuel (Makurdi) & Mohammed Ibrahim Yaba (Kaduna)