The government will continue with policies of social protection and people empowerment despite the challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic, President Muhammadu Buhari said on Monday.
The President spoke at the State House during the launch of the Presidential Youth Empowerment Scheme (P-YES). He restated his administration’s commitment to youth development and poverty alleviation.
The President, who described P-YES as a cornerstone of his administration’s social and economic development strategies, said it was part of the overall policy of ensuring that 100 million Nigerians were lifted out of poverty in 10 years.
The P-YES launch, which is aimed at creating 774,000 jobs across the local government areas, was attended by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Ahmed Lawan, Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje and Ebonyi State Governor Dave Umahi.
The President said: “The P-YES is also part of the plan that we adopted in 2016 in which we empowered One hundred youths from each of the 774 local government areas with the necessary tools to acquire skills and establish small businesses.
“Given the success of that initiative, we are now committed to creating 774,000 jobs across all the LGAs, through the P-YES programme.”
President Buhari, who took a tour of P-YES tools and equipment displayed at the forecourt of Presidential Villa expressed delight that the materials showcased represent the fruits of the initiatives by his administration in 2016.
“All the tools, machines and equipment that are exhibited here, are products of the efforts of these empowered youth entrepreneurs.
“I note with particular pleasure that they were all fabricated in Nigeria by Nigerian youths using locally sourced materials. This is a wonderful and uplifting achievement.
“As an entrepreneurship empowerment project, the P-YES programme aims to address the needs of unskilled and less educated youth.
“It targets key areas of activities that are of practical importance and are essential to every aspect of our economy.
“These include areas such as agriculture and food processing, restaurant and catering, tailoring and fashion design, technical skills such as in the Information and Communications Technology sector, artisanship, welding, carpentry and joinery, other small businesses and activities associated with the micro-economic sector of this economy.”
The President urged states, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAS) of government to factor the P-YES into their programmes to assist the youth to realise their potentials in their chosen fields.
He urged local and foreign private sector operators to contribute their share to the expansion of the programme through channelling their corporate social responsibility efforts towards skills acquisition, creation of start-ups, and other intervention measures.
President Buhari declared that the expansion of the P-YES would be vigorously pursued, adding that more resources would be committed to the achievement of its goals and objectives towards youth empowerment and entrepreneurship development.
The President commended the Office of the Senior Special Assistant on Youth and Students Affairs, under Hon. Nasiru Saidu Adhama, for driving the P-YES programme in accordance with the mandates prescribed for the office and the programme.