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40% Of Nigerian Youths Jobless; Angry, Restless -Adesina

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The President of African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has lamented the high rate of joblessness among Nigerians, saying about 40per cent of youths were unemployed.
Adesina, who disclosed this at a lecture in Lagos, said the youths were discouraged, angry and restless, as they look at a future that does not give them hope.
In the lecture, titled, “Nigeria – A Country of Many Nations: A Quest for National Integration”, Adesina, however, said all hope was not lost as youths have a vital role to play, if the country should arrive at its destined destination.
According to the latest Labour Force report of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), unemployment among young Nigerians (15- 34 years) is the highest in the country, with 21.72million or 42.5per cent of the 29.94 young Nigerians in the labour force unemployed, while the national unemployment rate stood at 33.3per cent as at December, 2020.
“For the period under review, Q4, 2020, the unemployment rate among young people (15- 34years) was 42.5percent, up from 34.9percent, while the rate of underemployment for the same age group declined to 21.0percent from 28.2percent in Q2, 2020.
These rates were the highest when compared to other age groupings”, the NBS said in its “Labour Force Statistics, Unemployment And Under Employment – Q4 2020”.
Speaking further, Adesina said: “For Nigeria to be all that it can be, the youth of Nigeria must be all they can be.
“The future of Nigeria depends on what it does today with its dynamic youth population. This demographic advantage must be turned into a first-rate and well-trained workforce, for Nigeria, for the region, and for the world.
“We should prioritise investments in the youth: in up skilling them for the jobs of the future, not the jobs of the past; by moving away from so-called youth empowerment to youth investment; to opening up the social and political space to the youth to air their views and become a positive force for national development; and for ensuring that we create youth-based wealth.
“From the East to the West, from the North to the South, there must be a change in economic, financial, and business opportunities for young Nigerians.
“The old must give way to the young. And there must be a corresponding generational transfer of power and wealth to the youth. The popular folk talk should no longer be ‘the young shall grow’, it should, rather, be: ‘the young have arrived’.
“The young shoots are springing up in Nigeria. Today, Nigeria’s youth are leading in the FinTech Industry. two companies – PayPal Interswitch are both valued at $1billion.
“A third company, Flutterwave, more than tripled its valuation in less than a year to over $3billion. What does this tell us? The future is here and young entrepreneurs are central to it.
“The African Development Bank approved $170million in December of last year for Nigeria to support its programme to expand digital and creative industries, by unleashing the incredible entrepreneurship of Nigeria’s youth.
“The African Development Bank is also exploring the establishment of Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Banks — financial institutions for young people, run by first-rate young bankers and financial experts, to drive youth-wealth creation.
“Nigerians deserve wealth, not poverty. There cannot and should not be a Nigeria for the rich, and another Nigeria for the poor.
“We must build one Nigeria, where every citizen has the right to a decent life. We must build a better nation. We must start building again, not splintering again.
“We must re-build trust, equity, and social justice, to propel strong cohesiveness as a nation. The tides are high, I know, and our boat rocks from time to time. Yet, I have hope, hope for a better Nigeria … a renewed nation. Hope for a nation that is helped and healed by God. A nation, where the sacrifices of Nigerians past and present shall not be in vain.
“I pray and long for a better Nigeria. For a nation, built not on the division of its past, or the foundations of ethnicity, but on a new foundation, the foundation of equity, fairness, justice, and unity, one Nigerian to the other.
“For a new Nigeria, where one from the North shall be at home in the East; where one from the East shall break bread with one in the North; one where the one in the West shall eat from the same plate with one in the North; and wash hands in the same basin as one in the East.”
He said for Nigeria to realize its dream, “The constituent states in Nigeria must be more financially autonomous through greater fiscal prudence. If states focus on unlocking the huge resources they have, based on areas of comparative advantage, they will rapidly expand wealth for their people.
“With their increased wealth they will be able to access capital markets to secure long-term financing to fast-track their growth and development.
“States that adopt this strategy would have less of a need for monthly trips to Abuja for grants. Instead, part of their federal revenue allocations can be saved as internal ‘state sovereign wealth funds’.
“This can then be used as guarantees against borrowings from capital markets. They would be free from needing to exclusively rely on the Federal Government.
“As a way out of the economic quagmire, much has been said about the need for restructuring. I know the discussions are often emotive. Restructuring should not be driven by political expediency, but by economic and financial viability – the necessary and sufficient conditions for political viability.
“Surgeries are tough. They are better done well, the first time. The resources found in each state or state groupings should belong to them. The constituent entities should pay federal taxes or royalties for those resources.
“The achievement of economically viable entities and the viability of the national entity requires constitutional changes to devolve more economic and fiscal powers to the states or regions.
“The stronger the states, or regions, the stronger the federated units. In the process, our union would be renewed. Our union would be stronger. Our union would be equitable. Our union would be fully participatory.’’
Meanwhile, a youth group, under the aegis of Prudent Youth Association of Nigeria (PYAN) has called on Dr Akinwumi Adesina to join the race for 2023 presidential election.
The group said in a statement by its Public Relations Officer, Mr Haruna Awode, said that Adesina had outstanding qualities needed at this critical moment to address the myriad of problems confronting Nigeria as a nation.
The group, while justifying its call on Adesina to join the murky water of politics, argued that as a former Minister of Agriculture and the incumbent two-term president of AfDB, given his antecedents, Adesina could be trusted to successfully run the affairs of Nigeria.
The statement read: “At the moment, Nigeria does not just need people with political exposure to lead as president; the exalted office should be occupied by a young, vibrant, intellectual with experienced and focused mind.
“Academically, Adesina has a track record of brilliance. He was the first to graduate with a First Class Honours, bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics, from the Obafemi Awolowo University), Nigeria, in 1981.
“He holds a master’s degree and a PhD in Agricultural Economics (1988) from Purdue University, USA, where he won the Outstanding PhD thesis award for that year.
“He has demonstrated that his outstanding academic performance was not a fluke, as he has applied this in meeting the social and economic needs of humanity at both national and international stages.
The group said that as a former minister of agriculture and the incumbent president of AfDB, Adesina has not disappointed or failed the nation, especially the youths.
“The globally-renowned development economist, scholar and agricultural development expert, with more than 30 years of international experience has proven his worth at every given opportunity.It is on record that as the Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria from 2011-2015, Adesina reformed the agriculture sector.
“Within his four years as a minister, Adesina changed agriculture in Nigeria from that of subsistence to a viable business through private sector led investments, while he also expanded the country’s food production.
“Under his tenure, Nigeria ended 40 years of corruption in the fertiliser sector by developing and implementing an innovative electronic wallet system, which directly provides farmers with subsidised farm inputs at scale using their mobile phones.”

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World Bank To Fund $30bn Projects In Nigeria, Others

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The World Bank has said it is set to disburse a total of $30billion to fund existing and new projects in Nigeria and other countries as part of a global response to combat the ongoing food security crisis.
According to the bank, it is working with countries on a $12billion new projects fund for the next 15 months.
It said the projects are expected to support agriculture, social protection to cushion the effects of higher food prices, and water and irrigation projects.
It added that most of the funds would go to Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and South Asia.
The global bank disclosed this when it announced how it plans to be part of a comprehensive, global response to the ongoing food security crisis.
It stated that it intends to roll out this fund in existing and new projects in agriculture, nutrition, social protection, water, and irrigation.
It said, “This financing will include efforts to encourage food and fertiliser production, enhance food systems, facilitate greater trade, and support vulnerable households and producers.”
World Bank Group President, David Malpass, said, “Food price increases are having devastating effects on the poorest and most vulnerable.
“To inform and stabilise markets, it is critical that countries make clear statements now of future output increases in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Countries should make concerted efforts to increase the supply of energy and fertilizer, help farmers increase plantings and crop yields, and remove policies that block exports and imports, divert food to biofuel, or encourage unnecessary storage.”
The bank added that its current existing portfolio includes balances of $18.7billion in projects with direct links to food and nutrition security issues, covering agriculture and natural resources, nutrition, social protection, and other sectors.
It stated, “Altogether, this would amount to over $30billion available for implementation to address food insecurity over the next 15 months. This response will draw on the full range of Bank financing instruments and be complemented by analytical work.”

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FG Postpones FAAC Meeting Over AGF’s N80bn Probe

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The Federal Government has announced the postponement of May, 2022 Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting.
The sudden postponement may not be unconnected with the ongoing investigation of the suspended Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, over alleged fraud to the tune of N80billion.
The FAAC meeting is a monthly meeting where the federation allocates monthly revenue among the three tiers of government.
The meeting had earlier been scheduled to hold virtually between May 18 and 19, 2022.
The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, said this in a letter signed by Director, Home Finance,Stephen Okon.
The ministry said the meeting was postponed due to “certain circumstances.
“I am directed to inform you that the Federation Account/Allocation Committee (FAAC) meetings earlier scheduled to hold/virtually on the 18th and 19th May, 2022 have been postponed due to/certain circumstances,” the circular reads.
“In view of the foregoing, I am to further inform you that the new date for the meetings will be forwarded to you in due course.
“While we regret the inconveniences this change might cause you, please accept the assurances of the Minister’s warm regards,” the letter read in part.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had on Monday arrested and detained Idris over an alleged N80billion fraud.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, announced indefinite suspension of Idris, last Wednesday.
Ahmed said the suspension “without pay” was to allow for “proper and unhindered investigation” in line with public service rules.

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Nigerian Out-Of-School Children Hit 18.5m

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Nigeria has 18.5million out-of-school children (OSC), the highest number in the world, and out of the figure, 10million are girls, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has said.
The Chief of UNICEF Field Office in Kano, Rahama Farah, stated this at a media dialogue on ‘Girls’ Education under the Girls’ Education Project 3, GEP 3’, funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), and implemented by UNICEF.
“For those lucky to be in school, their condition is also not enviable given the situation of public schools in the country. Only recently, the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), said 50per cent of schools in Nigeria lack basic furniture”Farah said.
The Executive Secretary of the commission, Hamid Bobboyi, said this in Abuja at a one-day civil society organisations’ CSO-Legislative Roundtable Meeting where some National and State Houses of Assembly members were present.
According to him, emerging constraints in basic education delivery in the country may necessitate an increase in the consolidated revenue funds from the current two per cent to four per cent.
He buttressed his position for an increase in funding on the security challenges bedevilling the country, insisting that rising student population also poses urgent need for teaching facilities.
Also speaking, the Chairman of Senate Committee on Basic Education, represented by Senator Frank Ibezim, decried the failure of State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs), to sustain some UBEC-initiated projects such as classrooms and libraries earlier introduced by the commission in all constituencies in the country.
While commending UBEC over the construction of classrooms in schools across the country, he lamented the poor maintenance culture, noting that there is no school in the country that does not have a dilapidated block.
A representative of MacArthur Foundation, Mr Dayo Olaoye, called on stakeholders to review the impact of the country’s annual budget on education, stressing that it was not enough that the country is increasing its budget to the sector.
“As we think about reforms, let us think beyond buildings that have been delivered, let us start thinking about how many children have been brought to school,” he said.
“If classrooms are dilapidated, and there are not enough furniture, what about teachers and the quality of the ones available? The Registrar, Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), Prof. Josiah Ajiboye, said there are over 300,000 unqualified teachers in the system.
“Education is very important to be left in the hands of quacks and that is why at TRCN, we are stepping up efforts at ridding the system of unqualified hands. We implore teachers and their employers to take advantage of the various windows TRCN is providing to improve the quality of teachers in the country so as to get better results from our education system,” he said.
For the General Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Dr Mike Ene, there is need for better funding of the education sector.
He noted that in many states, teachers are overwhelmed by the number of pupils and students they handle.
“In so many states, there is inadequacy of teachers. Some states have not recruited teachers in the last 10 years and yearly, teachers are leaving the system through retirement, resignation or even death. Worse hit by poor staffing are schools in the rural areas. Such schools are called hard-to-staff schools.”
It is in that regard that the welfare packages announced by the Federal Government are very much necessary,” he said.
Also speaking on the issue, the National President of the National Association of Parent-Teacher Association of Nigeria (NAPTAN), Alhaji Haruna Danjuma, decried the manner some state governments are implementing the Basic Education Policy of the government whereby pupils and students in primary and junior secondary schools are to enjoy free education and are given textbooks in some core subjects.
“Some states are not doing well in that respect. They have abandoned the programme. They are not funding education as it ought to be funded. Even counterpart funds that some states should put down to complement the funds from UBEC are not provided. Some states have even misused UBEC funds and are suspended from getting further grants.
“We are talking now about our tertiary institutions that are grounded by workers’ strikes, the basic education level, which is the foundation, is not faring better too. Something urgent must be done to redress the situation before the sector collapses finally,” he noted.

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