Agba: Our youths are Nigeria’s beacon of hope

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▪︎Says MTNDPs to take 100m Nigerians out of poverty

Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba has described the Nigerian youths as a beacon of hope for the country, declaring that without them, “Nigeria does not have a future.”

He stated this on Friday when a delegation of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), led by its President, Ambassador Solomon Adodo, paid him a courtesy visit in his office.

According to him, “The youths are the beacon of our hope.  Without the youths, we don’t have a future.  If we are not including the youths in our national development planning process, then who are we planning for?

“We plan on the basis of knowledge.  If we put up a plan for the next 30 years (Nigeria Agenda 2050-the long-term perspective plan), the youths have to be included because the plan is for them.”

He said this was the reason the ministry decided to select youths into the 26 Technical Working Groups (TWGs), the Central Working Group (CWG) and the Steering Committee for the preparation of the Medium-Term National Development Plans (MTNDPs 2021-2025 & 2026-2030) and Nigeria Agenda 2050.

The minister said that the Federal Government also subscribed to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which among others, provided that not nobody (including the youths) must be left behind in the development agenda and process.

Agba also spoke of President Muhammadu Buhari’s love and care for the generality of Nigerians, stating that “every day, he thinks about the youths and the vulnerable in the country.”

He explained that the centre-piece of the MTNDPs, which are in the works, was to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within the next ten years in line with the desire of President Buhari.

The minister stated that even before the EndSARS protests, president Buhari had as far back as July approved the N75 billion Nigerian Youth Investment Fund.

He said that there was a sum of N9.5 billion in the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) to help capacity building for the Nigerian youths, pointing out that the Ministries of Sports and Youth development; Communication and Digital Economy, and Women Affairs were leading in this process.

He urged them to take advantage of this capacity building fund.

He also spoke about the N462 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) loans with negotiated moratorium and N560 billion around agriculture and advised the youths to apply for the loan as well as go back to the farm, stressing “we will continue to give you all the support you deserve.”

Other programmes initiated by the Federal Government, which the NYCN president, Ambassador Adodo, reeled out in his speech on the occasion, included the Presidential Youth Empowerment Scheme, the National Young Farmers’ Scheme, creation of 774 jobs through the Public Works Scheme, and increase in the National Youths Service Scheme (NYSC) allowance from N19,800 to N33,000.

Adodo described these “as notable among several other sterling and sincere efforts pf government”, declaring that “the NYCN in return herein reaffirms her commitment to double up efforts in mobilizing youths to effectively key onto these vistas of opportunities and utilize the same as a springboard for boosting  national productivity and moving Nigeria’s economy to the frontlines in the comity of nations.”

According to him, “In this respect, we shall intensify our trainings both in the urban and rural areas, identify potential after our workshops/seminars and sustain a strong media campaign to redirect the energies and potentialities of the Nigerian youths away from anti-patriotic activities no matter how enticing they may be.”

He took the opportunity of the visit to commend the Minister, saying “you remain a positive phenomenon of excellence and patriotism and your finely-laced trajectory of service and professional experience remains an ever-unfolding epistle from which young Nigerians should glean invaluable lessons.”

He added: “we appreciate you for not neglecting the inescapable fact that the Nigerian youth ought to be involved in every step of the process of national planning.  This masterstroke has bolstered the confidence of the youth in government.”

Adodo, on behalf of the NYCN, conferred on the minister the Council’s certificate of commendation and inducted him into the Nigerian Youth Hall of Fame.

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