Today, it is my distinct pleasure to welcome you to the Senate Special Public Hearing on Youth Job Creation and Entrepreneurship. This event is a continuation of the Youth Development Roundtable discussion that I and my distinguished Senate colleagues sponsored on 9 October 2017.
It is imperative the National Assembly, the Federal government, the private sector and civil society focus immediate attention to the youth unemployment and developmental crisis facing our country. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) estimates Nigeria has a youth labour force of 38.2 million people. Of this number, 15.2 million people are out of work or seeking work. Available statistics show a majority of unemployed youth are female.
The primary factors contributing to high youth unemployment are:
1. High population growth outpacing economic growth,
2. School curricula have not equipped students with appropriate skills for employment,
3. Lack of vibrant industries to absorb competent graduates.
It is futile to point fingers or cast blame on any one administration and/or government program. Nigeria’s youth deserve our immediate interest, best thinking and above all, our best efforts to create workable solutions to include their concerns in our national investment framework.
Therefore, it is intended for our discussions to inform our budgetary and social policy decisions. For that matter, I am happy that this process has benefitted from the contributions of many civil society organizations (CSOs) that focus on youth development and empowerment.
The participation of CSOs is important because their grassroots networks and ideas serves to strengthen the legitimacy of the policy making and democratic process.
We look forward to hearing your feedback about today’s session and to working with you on behalf of Nigeria’s youth.
Senator (Dr.) Abubakar Bukola Saraki, CON
Senate President, the Federal Republic of Nigeria