Afolabi Imoukhuede, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Job Creation and Youth Empowerment, on Tuesday said that the Npower would engage 7,000 youths from across the country in software development programmes.
Mr Imoukhuede said this on Tuesday at the News Agency of Nigeria Forum in Abuja.
He said that the programme would be introduced as part of the mandate of the scheme to economically empower the youth in the country.
He noted that no fewer than 50,000 Nigerian youth were already engaged in skills acquisition programmes in different parts of the country with additional 500,000 graduates engaged as volunteers in N-Agro, N-Teach and N-Health since 2016.
According to Mr Imoukhuede, there is need for the country to begin to use technology or new thinking to solve some perennial challenges confronting the country.
“We are to stimulate a lot in young people for them to begin to think out of the box or even imagine a no box at all and really bring up ideas,’’ he said.
Mr Imoukhuede emphasised the need for the country to strengthen efforts toward unlocking the potential in Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs, through technological innovations.
“SMEs are greater core not only to our youth but to all, and that is where an average youth will blend as a micro player.
“In looking at job creation, we realised that SME is the engine of any formidable economy.
“So for us, we looked at it that it was with the least attention or the greatest challenge.
“We designed strategies targeted at unlocking the binding constraints that had hitherto hampered the successful entry of our micro enterprises into mainstream business.
“That is one of the areas we looked at because that in many ways is to unlock entrepreneurship.
“When you begin to look at unemployment we must wake up to the reality that the white collar jobs are not there in the number to match the number of our teeming graduates that are getting to the labour market.
“So the earlier we begin to redirect them in the area of innovations using technology to promote entrepreneurship the better for us,’’ Mr Imoukhuede stated.
He, however, observed that the federal government had recorded successes in its social investment programmes.
According to him, 9.3 million children in 26 states so far are benefiting from the home grown school feeding programme.
“While this caters for our young school children, it also serves as a job creation tool because in that programme 9.3 million children are being fed in over 26 states.
“100,000 cooks are being recruited to cook the food while 90,000 farmers as well are engaged because the instruction is that we must eat what we grow locally.
“Another is the conditional cash transfer of N5,000 that we pay to the most vulnerable which we pay to the poorest of the poor, the aged and the widows.
“Also is the government enterprise empowerment programme, the Trader money, the farmer money for the different groups just to create access to finance for artisans and traders,’’ Mr Imoukhuede said