Umuahia — CO-ORDINATING minister of the economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, yesterday expressed worry that youth unemployment rates were highest in the South-East states of the country, despite "the vibrant industries and entrepreneurial spirit among people of the region."
She said the Federal Government, through its YouWIN programme, would assist the youths, including those from the South-East zone to expand their existing small businesses or start a new one but regretted that only 13% of applications was received from the zone so far and urged youth in the area to embrace the programme.
Okonjo-Iweala spoke in Umuahia, Abia State capital, when she launched YouWIN programme for the South- East zone. She said the programme meant for youths between 18 and 40 years would in particular help sustain the enterprising nature of the people.
She said: When a team from YouWIN office visited Aba we saw shoe manufacturers, belts, bags and other leather products makers, clothes and garments designers, ceramic producers and many others, making good quality products in very difficult situations. Dozens of hard working young men and women were working in tight and crowded spaces, doing many difficult business processes manually due to lack of necessary machines and equipment."
The minister noted that "with the right support and environment, our industries here in Aba and other cities in the South East zone will be exporting authentic 'Made in Nigeria' products to Europe, America and other developed countries."