President Muhammadu Buhari has claimed that since he took over the administration of the country in 2015, the country is better economically than it was before.
The President revealed this on Tuesday while identifying factors that made the country’s economy to record a 5 per cent growth in the second quarter, 2021.
Recall that according to the second-quarter GDP report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) last Wednesday, the country’s economy grew by 5.01 per cent, year-on-year, the strongest growth since the fourth quarter of 2014 when President Goodluck Jonathan was in charge.
Speaking on how the feat was achieved, Buhari while speaking at the launch of the Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme at the State House in Abuja identified key drivers of economic growth and diversification in the second quarter to include telecommunications, transportation, electricity, agriculture and manufacturing.
President Buhari noted that the Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme, is a fully paid post-NYSC work placement programme that would provide an opportunity for mentors who were already engaged in various industries, gained relevant experience and built capacity over the years to provide mentorship and support for young Nigerians.
He also reiterated the commitment of his administration to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in ten years through the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy (NPRGS) which includes the famous Npower scheme.
The President’s special adviser on media and publicity, Femi Adesina quoted him in a statement as saying that: “Tuesday, 22nd June, 2021, I set-up the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy (NPRGS) steering committee to coordinate our work to fulfil my promise to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in ten years. This is building on the positive results from the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan and the targeted response to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic with the Economic Sustainability Plan.
“These efforts have yielded results with Nigeria recording its biggest economic growth in six years with a GDP growth of 5 per cent in the second quarter of 2021. The sectors that drove this growth are trade, telecommunications, transportation, electricity, agriculture and manufacturing. Each of these sectors showed significant improvement and thus created more jobs for our populace.
“An important part of our policies and strategies is the focus on employment and creating opportunities for our people. When this government was elected in 2015, we committed to increasing job opportunities for Nigerians and as part of our social investments programme we recruited 500,000 graduates into our N-power programme,’’ he noted.
Speaking further on the achievements made through the Npower scheme, the President said more workers (both graduates and non-graduates) have been added to the nation’s workforce and some have gone ahead to become employers of labour themselves.
“These graduates are recruited to work in agricultural, health and education institutions across the country. The N-power programme also has a non-graduate component that provides skills to tens of thousands of Nigerians in areas such as technology, masonry, auto repairs, and carpentry.
“We estimate that about 2 million people join our labour force annually. We continue to work with our partners to provide more opportunities to create jobs and the Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme in partnership with the United Nation’s Development Programme being one of such opportunities,’’ he added.
The President said the jubilee programme which is been launched will provide the platform for young Nigerian graduates in various sectors to gain work experience, skills and earn a living.
He said: “The jubilee programme will provide a pathway for young Nigerians to gain work experience in top tier organisations, gaining relevant skills and building the right networks for the future in various sectors including information and communications technology, financial services, trade, manufacturing, agriculture and agro-processing.
“Other sectors include mining, telecommunications, creative industries and technology, education, health, research and development, and public sector institutions. We believe that building the right skills and experiences across these sectors are important to sustain the economic growth we are experiencing.’’
The President also identified other similar programmes in the past such as the N75 billion youth fund in the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to help young Nigerians and their businesses.
“The Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) was our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have set up a survival fund which has helped many businesses stay afloat in the worst economic periods of the last 5 years, more than one million Nigerians have benefitted from the fund, with more than 500,000 benefitting from the MSMEs Payroll support track, approximately 270,000 beneficiaries of the artisan support track, and about 50,000 beneficiaries of the MSME grant scheme,’’ the President added.
On the jubilee programme itself, the President urged Nigerian youths and the private sector to key into the scheme and maximize the opportunity.
“Beyond the skills and work experience, we will be building a new culture of mentorship and guidance that can chart a new course for skills development and work experience in our country.
“We believe that as this programme creates new opportunities for 20,000 recent graduates annually, the beneficiaries will use the opportunities presented to them and maximize their 12 months of engagement,’’ he said.
“I would like to say thank you to the United Nations Development Programme and the European Union for their support on this vital initiative. And I hereby declare the program open,’’ he added.