LAGOS – Economic experts have urged the Federal Government to introduce sustainable incentives that would compel Nigerian youths to show interest in making agriculture a career.
They told newsmen in separate interviews that the huge opportunity in agriculture had made it imperative for government to use it to manage the huge unemployment problem.
Mr. Baily Oladikpukpu, a former Commissioner of the National Insurance Commission, said that government should overhaul the national approach to agriculture through mechanisation and distribution of improved seedlings.
Oladikpukpu said that government’s leadership in agriculture and agri-business remained the platform for making farming a prestigious profession and accommodating teaming unemployed youths.
“Only exploiting the opportunity in cassava crop alone could be a means of generating a huge foreign exchange and tackle joblessness among our youths as well as leverage economic development.
“Since Nigeria seems to be one of the largest producers of cassava in the world, the nation could harness the benefits for our domestic needs and the demand of the international market,” he said.
Mr. Augustine Ugwu, an entrepreneur urged government to support more of domestic manufacturing to sharpen Nigerians skills and empower majority of young people.
Ugwu, the Chief Executive Officer, Torac Ventures Ltd., said that government must build new areas and cluster of businesses that would be a magnet for engaging young people.
“To reduce the unemployment confronting the country, clusters of businesses remain necessary, just like what is obtainable in Onitsha and Aba.
“As part of building new business areas, government must make available revolving funds to engender the much anticipated growth and development,” he said.
Also speaking, a Lecturer at the Lagos State Polytechnics, Mr. Olakunle Adegoroye, urged government to use vocational skills acquisition programme to manage the nation’s unemployment challenges.
“Even in the service sector alone there is a major gap that is yet to be filled only by using a particular skill set that could be gotten from vocational skill acquisition training.
“If the bulk of our youth are armed with some technical skills, the challenges of unemployment will be a thing of the past with time,” he said.
It would be recalled that the Director General of the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association, Mr. Olusegun Oshinowo, earlier said that in spite of the Federal Government’s effort to reduce unemployment, about 40 million Nigerian youths remain unemployed.