EUCLID MYKE, Abuja
THE hope of some unemployed youths were re-kindled yesterday following the statement by the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, that government will not pay people N5,000.00 for idleness but that they will engage the youths in skilled labour, teaching and Agriculture.
The minister made this known at a press briefing at the National Secretariat of the All Progressive Congress, (APC). According to him, no society in the world pays people for indolence maintaining that Nigeria will not be an exception.
The Minister went further to say that while some people will get N5, 000 under cash conversion scheme, some will also get N10, 000 while other may get more than N15, 000 while in training adding that people who will be given such stipend will go through different training and later get employed with either the state or federal government.
The Minister lamented the high degree of unemployment in the country saying that the statistics gathered on the number of unemployed youths in the country is better imagined.
Hear him, “Unemployment is a very big scourge, a very serious disease in Nigeria now and we need to fight it frontally. I have gone to that ministry, had briefings from relevant officers and top management officers and I fill that Nigeria is at a cross roads.
“The APC manifesto stipulates what we are going to do. We promised Nigerians that we were going to create jobs, we are going to create employment but unfortunately for us, the economy has taken a serious down turn so we need Spartans like me to keep our flag flying and bring out water from the rock and that is what exactly we are going to do.
“We have programme on Commission cash transfer. Even though you the press have said it, we won’t pay N5000 for people to be indolent. No country in the world would pay people to go home and sleep and collect cash, so Nigeria will not be an exception.
“We will pay some people N5,000, we will pay some N10,000 and even for people in teachers conversion scheme, we will pay more than N10,000, N15,000 as stipend while in training, and then after the training they are going to be employed by State government and the Federal government in different Institution. It is not a programme we can run alone, the State governments are going to buy into it, they are going to synchronize with us and we are going to do it in synergy” said Ngige.
While revealing that the present administration have some poverty alleviating and employment generating programs, he added that those programs “will span through Ministry of Education, Ministry of Agriculture and my place (Ministry of Labour). Agriculture, because we have some Agriculture Universities, we will convert some people to teach the relevant Agricultural Sciences.”
“The NDE have over 120 centres scattered all over the country, we also have those that have been built by State government and we want to capture all of these into that scheme and then get people to the scheme; to be bricklayers, to be POP designers, builders, welders, electronics repairer and the one they call mechatronic, repair of vehicles, automobile engineering, carpentry, painting and fabrication of all sorts.
“We are going to do it, teach people, give them certification, because many people do not know that Ministry of Labour is the only place that can certify tradesmen. These skills acquisition centres are in grades, we have grade A certification, Grade B, Grade C, D and E Certification, they all still exist.
“So we want to get back our youths, capture them, teach them to use their hands, and when they used their hands, they can earn money by employing themselves. If you get a bricklayer or a painter today, you cannot pay less than N5, 000 for daily job. If somebody is able to work 20 days in a month for N5, 000, he already has N100, 000. But, today it is a sad story that Togolese, Ghanaians, people from Benin Republic, and people from Niger Republic that do all these skilled job for us.
“80 percent of workers in that specialize category in construction site all over Nigeria, be it in Abuja, in Lagos or in Onitsha, come from outside, and we don’t know that little drops of water, form ocean. The money or the naira they are paid is repatriated to their country and all of them will come at the end of the day to put pressure on naira in the foreign exchange market.
“So we have decided that we have to train our own youths, let them use their hinds to fend for themselves. We will also want to advance some of them into entrepreneurship. If you are very good, we can open a place for you and give you money through the Bank of Industry and SMEDAN and then you move to the next stage where a number of youth will work with you.”