Nigeria government records improvement in all areas despite challenges – Minister of Youth
By Ehi Ekhator
The Minister of Youth and Development, Boni Haruna, has said that Nigeria cannot claim to have delivered on all areas expected to improve upon due to challenges.
The Minister said though Nigeria has faced different challenges as a developing country, but the government has recorded improvement in almost all the areas.
He said “As a developing country, our country, Nigeria cannot claim to have delivered in all thematic areas of MDGs because in the course of implementation, we have had our challenges. However, inspite of all challenges, we have recorded a remarkable improvement in almost all the areas.
“As we transit to post 2015 Development Goals, the Transformation Agenda of the current administration of President Goodluck Jonathan is a development strategy that has factored the youth question. The recent rebasing of the Nigeria economy put the country’s GDP at $526.7 billion and potentially strong to fast track the achievements of the sector targets of the Transformation Agenda including Youth Development. As a road map for securing a better future for our Country, the Transformation Agenda which draws its inspiration from vision 20.20.20. is targetted at the following among others:
- Create decent jobs in sufficient qualities to address the protracted problem of unemployment and reduce poverty
- Laying the foundation for a robust and inclusive growth of the Nigerian economy.
- Providing opportunities for the Nigerian youth to be involved in governance and in productive activities that will add value to their well-being.
Boni stressed that before the transformation agenda in 201o, Nigerian youth were the most marginalized in the country.
He said ” It is to be noted that before the Transformation Agenda was launched in 2010 as a development strategy, the youth sector was the most marginalized. The moral and patriotic construct of the Nigerian youth has been continuously damaged by the combine forces of widespread joblessness, extreme disconnection from the mainstream of the society and globalization. The consequence of this is the present security challenge we have in the country in which the youth are both the key factors and also the victims.
“The fact that the youth constitute about 60% of our population of over 160 million people is to suggest that the youth demography in Nigeria is undoubtedly an advantage to us, and yet there has not been any strategic framework to pull them out of this bracket of the marginalized group which they had been, before the advent of this present administration.”
The Minister noted that Nigerians, despite the challenges, remain vibrant and take up opportunities where it is provided. Citing last year as an example, Boni stressed that during the last CommonWealth Program held in Sri Lanka, a Nigerian youth emerged the President of the Commonwealth Youth Council.
His words ” In spite of these challenges, the youth sector has remained vibrant. The Nigerian youth has continue to find relevance and prove themselves where opportunities abounds. It was here in Hambatota, Sri lanka, sometimes last year that a Nigerian youth and a product of our own youth parliament where he was one time its chief whip emerged as the inaugural Chairperson of the Commonwealth Youth Council.
” The Current administration under President Goodluck Jonathan recognizes that youth develpment has become a major index for measuring the seriousness of national and global development plan. for this reason and desirous of mainstreaming the Youth in our national development agenda, the administration decided to focus its attention on 18 thematic areas within the framework of the National Youth Policy. These include:
- Youth and Education
- Youth and Health
- Youth and Agriculture
- Youth and Employment
- Youth and Science and Technology
- Youth and Environment
- Youth women and girls
- Youth participation in politics and decision making
- Youth Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
- Youth and Conflict prevention and peace building
- Youth and HIV/AIDS
- Youth and Drug Abuse
- Youth and Crime
- Youth, Sports and Recreation
- Youth and Art and Culture
- Youth and family life
- Youth Migration and Human trafficking; and
- Youth and poverty.
The Minister said that there have been visible government intervention programs in all the area mentioned. He said that the the strategy for the implentation of the policy thrust of the Transformation Agenda is that it is multi sectorial driven.
He added “Indeed, almost all the MDAs and the private sector agencies have youth development components whose programs. Programs like Youth Interprise with Innovation (YOU WIN), The Youth Employment in Agricultural Program (YEAP), The Presidential Special Scholarship Scheme for Innovation and Development (PRESSID) Federal Ministry of Education, Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Program (SURE-P), Youth Development Infrastructure (YDI), National Youth Development Fund (NYDF), The Amnesty Initiative, have impacted positively on the Nigerian youth.