The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr. James Ocholi (SAN) has said that there is no reliable statistics of unemployed youths in the country.
The minister made the statement during an interview with journalists at the All Progressives Congress, APC national headquarters in Abuja.
Ocholi, who gave insights on how the ministry intends to carry out its mandate of job creation, also spoke on the federal government’s plans to employ non-trained teacher graduates as teachers.
Recall that the APC government had during the electioneering campaigns promised to pay N5, 000 stipend per month to indigent Nigerians and to create employment.
According to Ocholi, the Teacher Conversion Programme is meant to mop up graduates who do not have employment but possess degrees in relevant areas that can be used to teach secondary school students.
The minister who decried lack of data of unemployed youths said, “Before we got to where we are, there was no data anywhere.
“There is no data of the unemployed. In fact there is no data of the employed. It is a bad situation”.
He however said that the process of gathering data of the unemployed and the employed Nigerians has started. He said, “As l talk with you, there are experts working on the software on the various things which we have discussed with them on how to capture the details of the unemployed and the employed. And for those who are employed, there are many who are in wrong places; there many who are in job and they are not enjoying the job and who want to have a job better than what they are doing.
“There is a firm that we have sourced for, working with the National Directorate of Employment, NDE right now. NDE has done a pilot scheme in Bwari and they have an office in Lobito crescent right now working in preparatory for a mega scale on job proffer.
“What it takes to get that data ready is part of our work. Our work does not begin when the data comes out because the data itself does not employ people”.
Speaking on what the ministry is doing as regards skill acquisition centres, the minister said, “So we have decided to identify how many skill acquisition centres we have in this nation, then we know the capacities of each one. There are several of them more than 76 of them but we have also discovered that Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs has a lot of skill centres in the Niger Delta region which were built by the Ministry but they do not have capable hands with resources, with skills to be able to train. Minister of Agric has several and even the Ministry of Finance.
“So we have decided to do a memo to the SGF for Mr. President to galvanize all such centres and bring them to one fold. Then we can do a planning on how many each centre can take for the next three months. We will look at what is the nature of the skill that can be acquired within the period of time, what do we do to sustain those people that will acquire the skill and while acquire those skills what stipends can be paid to them to keep them in the training so that while being trained you earn something. That will bridge the gap between now and when they open their shop and begin to employ labour”.