“These programmes and many more we are doing to make sure we give opportunities to our young people, because we appreciate the young people; they have made this country proud.
“I always say that whenever you read newspapers, watch television or listen to the radio, those who preach hate, quarrel and try to divide us on the basis of ethnicity and religion are not the young people but grandfathers.
“The youths live with whomever they are comfortable with regardless of ethnic or religious affiliation; they want to marry whomever they love. [eap_ad_2] “They are not like those old people who are disturbing us, who want to divide us based on religion and all kinds of sentiments.
“But listening to you here gives me hope that this country is beginning to change, and it is changing for the better,’’ Jonathan said.
On her part, the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said that a lot of young people had benefitted from the various empowerment programmes of the government.
According to her, monetary grants have been given to many youths who set up thriving businesses.
“We help them register their businesses with the Corporate Affairs Commission and the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control.’’
She said that more than 100,000 candidates applied in the second phase of the Graduate Internship Programme, where they would work for a year and enjoy monthly stipend of N25,000, while gaining working experience.
Okonjo-Iweala also said that the Federal Government launched a 25-million dollar Information Communication Technology (ICT) capital venture fund for businesses owned by young people.
She said that the government would continue to provide favourable environment to assist Nigeria’s young professionals to harness their potentials.
In a communique issued at the end of the summit, participants recommended the setting up of: “A well-structured entrepreneurial training/programme to be included in university programmes.
“ A policy initiative to drive and ensure accessible funding, thereby eliminating the stringent requirements on loans and grants.
“Initiating the formulation of fair employment policies as well as give priority to the employment of young people.
“An efficient programme and project management to increase sustainability and continuity, while reducing the likelihood of uncompleted projects and unwarranted variations,’’ the communique stated.
Observers say that Nigeria has professionals in all fields of human endeavour, spread across the world in search of greener pastures.
They say that the talents of the professionals should be tapped maximally for the economic development and industrial growth of the country.(NANFeatures)[eap_ad_3]