The minister of youth development, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, yesterday lamented the unemployment rate in the country, declaring that about 67million young people are jobless and that, of the figure, 80 per cent of them don’t possess a university degree.
Bolaji, who addressed hundreds of youths at TY Danjuma Foundation’s ‘Career Day 2012’ in Benin City, Edo State capital, however, attributed the high unemployment rate to years of failure at different levels, explaining that “lack of job is a consequence of lack of skills”. The event has as its theme “Developing capacity of youths to build successful careers and businesses”.
The minister, who delivered the keynote address, ‘Overcoming Challenges’, harped on skill acquisition irrespective of educational qualification.
“Employers are more interested in what you can do, and not the kind of certificate you have acquired.”
He also took a swipe at a section of the youth who clamour for free tertiary education, noting that “tertiary education cannot be free. Education is an investment. Unless we begin to realise that it cannot be free, quality will be diffused.”
Besides, he announced that the sum of N1.2bn has been captured in the 2012 budget which is aimed at training and grant for youth empowerment programme in agriculture, ICT and the creative industry, pointing out that “certificate will serve as collateral for access to the loans”.
Earlier, the executive director of the foundation, Mrs. Thelma Ekiyor, disclosed that the event was meant to prepare the youths to be creators of jobs, even as she expressed the organisation’s readiness to partner with the government on agro-business. She also explained that the organisation has given out financial resources to organisations for projects.