The private sector led Coalition Alliance Against COVID-19 (CACOVID), has unveiled plans to empower four million youths with N150 billion employment programme, noting that once the nation’s high rate of unemployment is curtailed, social unrest will be significantly reduced.
Co-Chairman of CACOVID and Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN), Godwin Emefiele, who briefed the media alongside the President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote; Chairman of United Bank for Africa, Tony Elumelu and the Managing Director of Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe, revealed that, unemployment among the youth was a critical factor behind the recent #EndSars protest.
As a result, Emefiele said CACOVID has committed to create a high impact youth development programme that will provide technical and vocational education to over 4 million Nigerian youths over the next five years.
“Students will be trained on craft work, plumbing, masonry , carpentry, and other artisanal related skills for which sufficient demand exist in Nigeria . Over N150bn is expected to be deployed towards the set up and implementation of the youth development programme, which will be available at select training centers across the country,” the CBN governor said.
On conclusion of the programme, Emefiele said the students will be certified by the appropriate standards board and will be eligible to receive loans to support their entrepreneurial pursuits.
“So far,over N25 billion will be domiciled in a fund to support these entrepreneurial pursuits, which would also include acquisition of related equipment to conduct business activities. The ultimate objective is to provide young Nigerians with employable skills sets that will enable them to live a gainful life. We believe this initiative can lead to the creation of over 4 million jobs over the next five years,” Emefiele added.
For the out of school graduates that possess certain entrepreneurial skills, the apex bank governor said, CACOVID will be working with Bankers Committee to complete the Creative center at National Arts Theater area of Lagos in four select areas namely; ICT and software design / development; Fashion; Music and Movies. This project, according to him, is expected to cost the Bankers Committee over N40 billion.
Meanwhile, the group said it received N39.6 billion as donation from over 200 members of the private sector and spent N43.272 billion on the acquisition of, not only medical equipment and supplies, but also food palliatives for the vulnerable Nigerians. He said the funds raised by CACOVID was used to support three key priorities: Medical facilities and equipment, food relief programmes and communication plans on the dangers of the coronavirus pandemic.
In addition to the youth empowerment programme, CACOVID also promised to spend N100 billion to purchase equipment for the police as well as renovate the 44 police stations destroyed during the crisis that followed the #ENDSARS protest.
“CACOVID has committed to fully rehabilitate all 44 damaged and destroyed police stations nationwide in a bid to restore provision of security in affected locations.To further strengthen the security apparatus in the country, CACOVID has committed to provide over N100 billion to procure equipment and gadgets for the Nigeria Police Force over the next two years; as our contribution to fully modernise the Nigerian Police,” Emefiele said.