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Create opportunities for entrepreneurial skills in young people – ILO tells Nigeria

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The International Labour Organisation (ILO), on Friday urged Nigerian Government to create opportunities for entrepreneurial skills development to enable young persons meet challenges of unemployment.

Its Director General, Mr Guy Ryder, in a news conference in Abuja, said that the measure was necessary in view of the growing number of young people lacking the needed skills to meet up with the challenge of emerging labour markets.

The Nigeria News Agency , reports that Ryder was answering questions following his two days visit to the country, on the sidelines of the Global Youth Employment Forum in Abuja.

According to him, education plays a major role in providing the skills gap perceived as promoting unemployable status in the youths.

Ryder said that it was worrisome to note that poor education was one of the factors fueling child labour in countries, calling for massive investments to ensure that children had the needed skills to compete with their peers globally.

“There is need for policy and investment in education and skills; we must provide young people with those that our labour markets really need.

“We talk frequently about the mismatch between the skills on offer and the skills that are needed. We need to do much better, and we need to make learning a lifelong process.

“Another area of action is active labour market policies; this can vary from employment service provisions, to wage subsidies and employment intensive investments all of which can ease the transition of young people from education into employment.

“These are the policies that allow the integration of young people into the labour market; we have to promote youth entrepreneurship and self-employment to harness the extraordinary energy and talents of our young people.”

He said that the conversations that the organisation has had with some of its social partners with the Nigerian government had confirmed that with population growth daily, efforts must be made to create enough jobs to address unemployment.

He added that there was the need to improve the ease of doing business, improve the regulatory environment and develop infrastructure to encourage private sector partnerships.

The director general said that ILO had adopted its Call for Action on Youth Employment which sets out five areas of action of pro-employment macroeconomic policies that enable job creation among youth.

He stressed the need for inter-sectoral collaboration between ministries of labour, the central bank, the ministries of planning, finance and industries towards creating an enabling environment to meet challenges of youth unemployment.

Ryder also called on government to be aware of, and respect the rights of young people, noting that young people were workers like any other and their rights needed to be promoted and respected in that regard.

On Nigeria’s minimum wage impasse, Ryder said that it should take into account the basic needs of families and the real productive capacities of economies.

NAN quotes the ILO as saying that globally, 255 million young people are not in employment, or in education or training.

It states that 136 million young people are working in extremely hard conditions, and yet they are still living in poverty.

The ILO says such conditions falls short of the ILO’s ambition of decent work for all.

Edited by Bola Akingbehin and Ephraims Sheyin

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