4 April 2014

Nigeria: 5.3 Million Youths Unemployed - Okonjo-Iweala

Photo: Ansu Konneh/IRIN
Unemployed youths (file photo).

Abuja — Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, yesterday, reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government in ensuring that 5.3 million youths are gainfully employed.

Okonjo-Iweala, stated this while commissioning the Global Distance Learning Institute, GDLI, in Abuja.

She said unemployment had been a problem before President Goodluck Jonathan's administration assumed office, explaining the reason there were over 5.3 million backlog of unemployed youths in the country.

She said efforts would be made to encourage unemployed youths in the country to be entrepreneurs and employers of labour.

Okonjo-Iweala said: "President Jonathan is very worried about problem of unemployment in the country. The reason we are so excited about this GDLI, it would create jobs and also train youths in skill acquisition.

"Now 5.3 million are unemployed in this country and it has been a backlog. We know that 1.8million youths enter the job market every year, plus the 5.3 million that are on ground. We all feel the Federal Government is not working, but the government is working, and that is wrong.

"We feel how the youths are feeling and if we have 1.8 millon unemployed youths and we create 1.6 million jobs, it gives hope. No parents would want to spend so much money to send their children to school and sit down. We know that 200,000 youths every year don't get jobs.

"Let us encourage our young people to create job, let them become entrepreneurs."

The Chief Executive officer of GDLI, Professor Manny Aniebonam, in his welcome address, said unemployment was a major problem in Nigeria, adding that remained the reason the GDLI was being used as a training ground in Nigeria.

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