The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Chris Ngige, has raised the alarm over the high rate of unemployment in the country, especially among the youths, saying the country is in trouble.
This is as Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, assured owners of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) of the Federal Government’s support in terms loan accessibility and a fertile ground for their businesses to tackle the problem.
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They spoke on Tuesday in Abuja at an Inaugural Partnership Economy Summit organised by the Ministry of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, titled: “Translating Sustainable Development Goals to Local Businesses in Nigeria”.
“We are in trouble. We are facing the problem that is in a vicious cycle. We need to start to save ourselves, our children and our country. How do we do that? We have to start making sure on how we can break the central point of this vicious cycle. Breaking it means we are going to start from the root.
“If we keep on with these symptoms; buy ammunition, bomb kidnappers, bomb Boko Haram, you will be wasting resources. If you had prevented it, it would cost you less. We must give education to the people at the grassroot.
“Those who can’t get education, we must provide them jobs so that they can fend for themselves. They can put roof over their heads. So, that they can eat food daily and their health will be guaranteed. If we do this, you will kill the other things because the circle is ignorance, not having education, diseases and poverty,” Ngige said
Vice President Osinbajo represented by the Minister of Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, said, “Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are the backbone of Nigeria’s economy, and this platform will support their sustainable growth. The Federal Government is committed to providing practical support to smaller companies at this critical time.”
Also, the Host Minister, Senator George Akume, said the two-day summit would garner the fundamentals of Goals 1, 8, 9 and 17 to build the solid sustainable framework of Partnership Economy Nigeria.
“Partnership Economy Nigeria is a bold attempt to mobilise multi-stakeholders on a platform that generates synergy to promote wealth creation, diversification of our economy and generation of several million jobs in the economy.
“The initiative was also focused on the diversification of the country’s economy and generation of several million jobs in the economy. The platform is designed to harmonise the efforts of the three tiers of government towards supporting and facilitating the community-based MSME.
“This will enable them to start and grow value-addition businesses across all sectors at the council, ward level at local government levels in particular, in a bid to build our economy from the bottom to up,” Akume said.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Ambassador Anthonia Ekpa, said the event was a success considering the large participation of stakeholders including the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Ahmed Lawan, Speaker of House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila, and Chairman, Nigerian Governors’ Forum, among others.
She expressed optimism that the outcome of the summit would produce a working document that will transform the nation’s economy.