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In my first term, my govt lifted 5m Nigerians out of extreme poverty— Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has revealed that the social investment programmes of his administration succeeded in lifting over five million Nigerians out of extreme poverty.

He added that the administration has also within the period created over two million direct and indirect jobs.

Recall that the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, had, sometime in May, questioned the effectiveness of the programme for which N500bn was voted for in 2015.

The President who was represented by Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, made this known at the Global Youth Employment Forum, citing key components of the National Social Investment Programme, including N-Power.

He stated that the Social Investment Programme has led to the creation of job opportunities in different sectors of the Nigerian economy for young persons.

The Global Youth Employment which is a creation of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) is holding outside Geneva, Switzerland for the first time since it started.

According to him, the Nigerian government recognises the need to focus attention on youth empowerment by creating an enabling environment for job opportunities and capacity building.

He said his administration decided to make investment in its people through the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan which he said was the national development blueprint.

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The president added that there was the need to meaningfully engage the huge global youth population and the abundant skills they possessed, adding that the International Labour Organization (ILO) has been Nigeria’s important ally in the promotion of Decent Work and Social Dialogue.

He said, “The immense support and assistance received from our partner United Nations (UN) agencies, notably the ILO in the areas of Policy Reviews, Institutional Strengthening; Human Capacity Development. Implementation of dedicated Programs and Technical/Financial support cannot be over-emphasized.

“The International Labour Organization has committed itself to youth employment and the future of work in Africa, with in-depth understanding of the rapidly changing demographics, the emerging world of work and the challenges of national economic stabilities.

“Nigeria places much value on her youth, who represent today and the future of our nation and we are glad that this event is bringing together selected young people from member States of the ILO from different continents to discuss an issue that is of critical importance to both the young and old which is the creation of decent job opportunities for the teeming unemployed youth.

“We note at this point that the issue of youth unemployment has assumed global significance and on the front burner of developmental discuss. The Government of Nigeria recognizes the need to focus attention on youth empowerment by creating the enabling environment for job opportunities and capacity building.

“In this connection, the present administration, from the onset, made the Investment in our People one of the key goals of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), which is the National Development Blueprint, for the period 2017 to 2020.

“The implementation of the plan through some flagship programs such as the National Social Investment Program (NSIP) has yielded some measurable outcomes in the form of increased school enrolment and creation of more jobs.

“One of the key components of the NSIP, the N-power Program and its sub-components, has led to the creation of job opportunities in different sectors of the economy for young persons.

“For example, in the past three and half years, the program has yielded over Two (2) million direct and indirect employment opportunities and has lifted over five (5) million Nigerians out of extreme poverty.

“In addition to these achievements, some sectors of the economy with high propensity for massive job creation and employment generation were specifically targeted by our Government for various forms of support. These sectors include Agriculture; Solid Minerals; Power, Works and Housing; Trade and Investment; and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“The support provided to the sectors enabled the creation of over Twenty (20) special programs and projects and creation of employment opportunities as outcomes, with ripple effects on improved standard of living for a significant segment of the citizenry.

“Furthermore, some programs of the present administration are targeted at the Informal Sector with a view to increasing their capacity to engage more employees. These include the Import Restriction Policy, the Executive Order on Ease of Doing Business, local content policy, etc., all of which are aimed at boosting the domestic economy.

“This administration similarly recognizes the creative potentials of our youths and the need to sharpen their global competitive edge. Towards this end, the Central Bank of Nigeria has introduced the Creative Industry Financing Initiative (CIFI) to improve access to long-term low-cost financing for entrepreneurs and investors in the Nigerian Creative and Information Technology subsectors.

“The objective is to boost job creation, particularly among the youth. To complement this, government is committed to building the required infrastructure and strengthening the regulatory, institutional as well as the legal environment in order to protect the Intellectual Property Rights in the Creative Industry.”

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