The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah has said that government will ensure that projects and programmes are implemented to create jobs for the youth.
Enelamah made the statement at the launch of a growth and employment project. called, “Business Innovation and Growth (BIG)’’ platform in Abuja on Tuesday.
“The gaps identified for job creation will be solved through the project which will create employment through Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
“We will provide effective project implementation, coordination, communication, monitoring and evaluation of this project,’’ he said.
Enelamah expressed regret that the country’s growth had not translated to jobs and stressed that the jobless growth problem must be addressed.
He said the biggest asset of any country was its citizens, adding that Nigerians were known all over the world for their vibrancy and entrepreneurship.
“Our problem in this country is not about Nigerians but the system, if our scheme is ok, Nigerians will excel,’’ Enelamah said.
He said the project was estimated to create, at least, 40,000 direct and many more indirect jobs.
Enelamah said the project was a multi-benefit intervention by the ministry which, by the next three years, thousands of businesses would enjoy technical support with a chance to be awarded BIG grants.
He said the benefits would include increased competitiveness, improved skills, better access to funding and more.
The minister said the project would focus on businesses with fewer than 100 employees, who were operating in priority sectors of Information Communication Technology, entertainment, light manufacturing, construction and hospitality and tourism.
Also, Mr Rachid Benmessaoud, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, said the Growth and Employment Project was a major initiative aimed at stimulating job creation through the growth of specific, high potential and non-oil sector.
Benmessaoud said the country had identified security, job creation and governance as three key priorities.
“For job creation, its focus is on the need to create two million new jobs each year and it aims to do this through industrialisation.
“Others are public works, agricultural expansion and diversifying the economy away from reliance on oil revenues.
He said the online platform would be the main channel through which GEM assistance would be made available to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
Benmessaoud said it would also help to organise and build the capacity of firms in order to facilitate better access to finance.
He said grants would be offered through various grant windows designed around the differing needs of individual businesses, consortia of businesses and investors.
“Following this, MSMEs throughout Nigeria, but operating under the GEM sectors will be invited to register on the BIG platform through its dedicated website.
“They will apply and be screened, and if they meet the required criteria, will be given access to high quality training and capacity building.
“if they pass through the training phase successfully, they may become eligible to apply for grants,’’ he said. (NAN)