Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed has assured Nigerians that the Federal Government will continue to engage the youth and address issues of job creation and poverty reduction.
Mohammed stated this on Monday while addressing reporters at Federal Government’s consultative meeting with political and traditional leaders in the Southwest at the Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja, the Lagos State capital.
The meeting, which was at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari, was meant to reconcile and rebuild the Southwest after last month’s looting and destruction of public and private properties during the #EndSARS protests, especially in Lagos.
Mohammed said apart from some other new initiatives to address job creation and poverty reduction after the protest, the government had always been addressing unemployment among youths.
“The newly launched youths programme is actually aimed at creating jobs for the youth. For instance, there is the N75 billion fund, which is in three tiers and designed to give youths the opportunity for job creation and to empower them.
“Also, there is the N75 billion MSME Survival Fund, which is broken into two: there is the Payroll Support, which is to assist MSMEs employing between three and 50 employees to help them to pay salaries, especially with the impact of COVID-19,” he said.
The minister said the new programme is for 500,000 MSMEs involved in food production, hospitality industry, health, among others.
“The second leg is the one we call one-off grant for mechanics, electricians, hair dressers, etc. It is N30,000, which government is making available to 333,000 individuals involved in this.
“It also involves what we call the informal grant, which is the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) registering free of charge 50,000 companies, MSMEs; and 100,000 beneficiaries of the N50,000 one-off grant,” Mohammed said.
The minister said before the new initiatives, the government had been involved in other programmes and initiatives that would be beneficial to the youths.
He listed some of the programmes as the N-Power, which employs about 500,000 youths with more to be employed this year; N-Tech and N-Agro, which have profited more than 20,000 youths, among others.
“The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) salary was increased from N19,800 to N33,000 only this year. We are building 300,000 houses this year; 5 million homes are to be provided with solar energy,” Mohammed said.
All these, the minister said, were put in place before the #EndSARS protest.
“The government is very keen to continue to engage the youths and very soon government will publish all the websites where youths can apply for all these initiatives,” he added.