L-R: Chief Herbert Wigwe, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Mr. Godwin Emefiele and Mr. Tony Elumelu at CACOVID Media Briefing in Lagos

CACOVID plans over 4m jobs, N150bn youth empowerment scheme

*The Coalition discloses the youth development programme will provide technical and vocational education to over 4 million Nigerian youths in the next five years

Isola Moses

The Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID), a private sector-led initiative in Nigeria, has revealed plans to commit over N150billion to set up and implement a youth development programme as support for the Federal Government’s job creation and empowerment drive in the country.

ConsumerConnect reports CACOVID disclosed the youth development programme would provide technical and vocational education to over four million Nigerian youths over the next five years.

Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Co-Chair of CACOVID, at a media briefing in Lagos Wednesday, November 25, 2020, outlined the group’s plans to assist the Federal Government to address issues that triggered youth restiveness resulting in the recent #EndSARS protests.

Emefiele, who rendered an account of the activities of the group this far, spoke in the company with Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President of Dangote Group; Mr. Tony Elumelu, Chairman of United Bank for Africa Plc; and Chief Herbert Wigwe, Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Access Bank Plc.

The private sector-oriented coalition also unveiled plans to raise and spend N100 billion over the next two years to renovate and buy rifles as well as other security gadgets for the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).

This effort comes with special focus on the 44 Police stations recently destroyed by hoodlums in the wake of the #EndSARS protests against Police brutality.

According to Emefiele, the group’s preliminary analysis indicated that unemployment, particularly among the youth, was a critical factor behind the recent unrest experienced in some parts of the country.

The CBN Chief said: “As a result, CACOVID has committed to creating a high impact youth development programme that will provide technical and vocational education to over four million Nigerian youths over the next five years.

“Students will be trained on craftwork, plumbing, masonry, carpentry, and other artisanal related skills for which sufficient demand exist in Nigeria.”

Selected students on the conclusion of the programme will be certified by the appropriate standards board, and will be eligible to receive loans to support their entrepreneurial pursuits, stated he.

He stressed “so far, over N25 billion will be domiciled in a fund to support these entrepreneurial pursuits, which would also include acquisition of related equipment to conduct business activities.

“The ultimate objective is to provide young Nigerians with employable skill sets that will enable them to live a gainful life.

“We believe this initiative can lead to the creation of over four million jobs over the next five years.”

As regards the out-of-school graduates that possess certain entrepreneurial skills, he noted CACOVID would be working with the Bankers’ Committee to complete the creative centre at the National Arts Theatre, Lagos, in four select areas namely: ICT and software design /development, fashion, music and movies.

He revealed that the project is expected to cost the Bankers’ Committee over N40 billion, he said.

“Given the impact, the unrest had on the conduct of business activities, members of CACOVID has committed to developing a business continuity plan that will enable businesses and firms to share timely information and resources to forestall physical or cyber-attacks, which could derail the smooth functioning of business activities in the country,” Emefiele said.

He added that the group received a total of N39.64 billion as donations from members of the private sector and spent N43.272 billion on various interventions.

These include N28.7 billion on food relief, as palliatives to 1.7 million households translating to eight million Nigerians, he noted.

According to him, the ultimate objective of CACOVID is to work with the government in providing support in areas that would result in improved health and societal outcomes.

The group sought to aid the government in improving testing capability, and management of positive cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria, said the CBN Governor.

Dangote also explained that training the youths on technical and vocational jobs would also enable the Federal Government to draw a database on various skills for vocational jobs.

The President of Dangote Group said: “We would have a database so that you don’t just call an armed robber to your house. You can go into that data and call someone. We all have repairs, and with that data, you can know who to call for repairs.

“What we are doing is that we are providing them with money to buy tools. So as soon as they get the training which is free, which we are paying for, then they have the guarantee that they would get jobs.

“We have about 30,000 workers at our (Dangote) site, which we are planning to get to 50,000. Only 25 to 28 per cent of that would be foreign workers and the rest will be Nigerians who would be trained.”

Elumelu likewise assured Nigerians that CACOVID will support the Federal Government, as he said, “the CBN governor has done extremely well.

“We used to be in banking together, but I didn’t realise his level of passion for the country until we started CACOVID.

“With the level of passion, every day since March this year, we spent several hours discussing how to intervene in the economy through CACOVID.

“So, at times when you hear things outside, you begin to shake your head and say if only people knew the efforts being made by the CACOVID leadership. We had people stay awake throughout the night.”

The UBA Plc Chair stated: “All I will say is that let’s have a bit of patience. The private sector in Nigeria is committed to poverty alleviation because poverty anywhere affects any of us. So, let’s work together to create more jobs.”

Kindly Share This Story