Kwara State Government has expressed concern over the increasing rate of youths unemployment in the country which is said now stand at 24 percent.
Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Gov Abdulfatah Ahmed on Youth Empowerment, Saka Babatunde said this on Tuesday in Ilorin in an address delivered at a one-day sensitisation workshop.
The workshop, being attended by over 600 youths was titled: “Business conceptualization and Planning to Access Local and Foreign loans & Grants for Kwara Young Entrepreneurs”.
It was organised by the office of the SSA Youth and Kwara Agro Mall in collaboration with Founders Hub and Alumni of Tony Elumelu Foundation.
The SSA, in his address titled: “Harnessing available opportunities for start-up growth” said Kwara Government was poised at strengthening and empowering the youths in the state.
“Youth unemployment rate in Nigeria increased to 24 percent in the second quarter of 2016 from 21.5 percent in the first quarter of 2016.
“Youth unemployment rate in Nigeria averaged 17.5 percent from 2014 until 2016 reaching an all time high of 24 percent in the second quarter of 2016 and a record low of 12 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014.
“This scary statistics shows that the young people of today face the likelihood of becoming victims of both unemployment and restiveness,” the SSA added.
He therefore called on youths in the state not to wait for the non existence white collar jobs, but should use their various skills, creative energy and potential productively.
“Nobody is born with entrepreneurial powers but the youth can tap into the power of innovation and creativity.
“It is in line with this over arching mindset that the State Government had conceived a brain child aimed at marching the youths out of the doldrums”, Babatunde said.
He described the initiative tagged: “Kwara Youth Empowerment Program (KWAYEP) as a sustainable economic and start up agenda which cannot be achieved without The commitment and cooperative effort of the youth.
“KWAYEP needs the resourcefulness and strength of Kwara’s youthful population to drive development at both state and national levels,” he added.
The SSA therefore urged the you to take advantage of the opportunities offered by KWAYEP to their advantage.
He said KWAYEP has six platforms which included promoting enterpreneuhip education through basic enterprise training and business development.
The SSA said the initiative also provide a forum for youth mindset re-orientation to positivity in collaboration with NGOs.
He said the government of Dr Ahmed has provided many initiativs and intervention schemes for the youths of the state since 2011.
According to him. ThacKwara Bridge Empowerment Scheme ( KWABES) recruited 2, 000 youths in 2011 across the 16 LGAs in the state.
He said 1, 400 youths were absorbed into permanent employment, while 100 youths were sent for training at the new Yidi Fish farm and Malete Integrated Youth Farm.
The SSA said 20 youths were sent for YOUEIN project, while another 10 youths benefitted from Federal Government’s Youth in Agriculture.
He listed other youth intervention schemes to include trading of 150 youths in collaboration with KWASU under the Kwara Youth Entrepreneurship (KYE), 15 youths trained at the National Peer Institute and 15 youths honey production.
According to him, 500 youths were trained in three identified vocations of Catering and Hotel Management, Aluminum fabrication and Painting, while 30 benefitted from CBN Youth Innovative Entrepreneurship Development Program (YIEDP).
“Indeed youths face a number of challenges but they have opportunities. We are here today to rekindle the innovative and the creative in you,” the SSA said.
He called on the you to harness the innovation and creativity in them without waiting for anybody through KK WAYEP platforms.
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