Enugu State Government says it will improve budgetary allocations to youths and sports sectors of the state as a mean of encouraging innovations and entrepreneurship by young people.
The Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Mr David Ugwunta, disclosed this on Wednesday in Enugu during a policy dialogue on `Increasing Budgetary Allocation and Access to Young People’’.
Ugwunta, therefore, called on youth organisations in the state to identify with ministries and agencies in charge of youth development to benefit from the move.
The event was organised under the Youth Organising and Leadership Project (Yiaga Africa Initiative).
The commissioner said the state government was concerned about youth developmental programmes that would create jobs and wealth.
He appealed to the youths in the state to innovate and come up with ideas backed up with verifiable proposals and financial implications, adding that budgetary allocations would be made for such.
Ugwunta said that the state government had already instituted the Enugu State Tech-hub to create opportunities for youths in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector.
In an address, the Enugu State Lead, Yiaga Africa, Mr Nebo Collins, described the project as a multi-country intervention programme.
Collins said that the project, funded by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), had a strategic partnership agreement with ActionAid Denmark.
He said that part of the objectives of the intervention was to ensure quality gender responsive public service and provision of economic opportunities and decent work for the youths.
He said that the programme was also aimed at promoting participatory democracy and youth representation in governance.
Another representative of Yiaga Africa, Mr Olaniyan Sanusi, described as ridiculous the budgetary allocations the state government made for youth based programmes in 2021.
Sanusi said that the allocation which stood at 0.53 per cent of the overall budget was not sufficient.
He said that the state budget must target youth specific projects rather than being situated within generic contexts.
Also, the Programme Manager, Yiaga Africa, Mr Ibrahim Farouk, said that budgetary allocations needed to be more gender responsive.
Farouk said that the project was being implemented in Abuja and five other states which included Akwa Ibom, Enugu, Kaduna, Lagos and Bornu.
“We have been building the capacity of young people and have mobilised no fewer than 2,000 young people across these five states and Abuja in the last two years.
“We want them to engage in this kind of process and be able to influence the budget policy processes, especially as it affects women and young people,” he said.
According to Farouk, it is important to develop a youth agenda that is cross cutting so that youth issues are not randomly situated in many ministries, departments and agencies of government.