President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday restated his administration’s commitment to create jobs for the country youth population.
He said, “In the last four years, this government prioritised agriculture, housing and infrastructure development. Our focus in these areas was to create jobs today and ensure peace and equitable prosperity for future generation of Nigerians.”
The President stated this when Director General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Guy Ryder, visited him at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He stressed that it was impossible to continue to import food with the nation’s population, adding: “On agriculture, it was simple; a country with a population of close to 200 million has to be able to feed itself. We cannot continue to rely on importation of food.”
While congratulating ILO on its 100th year anniversary, he told Ryder that his government had tackled the big deficits in power, roads, bridges, rails and housing sectors to ensure that adequate housing is available today and for many years to come.”He attributed some of his administration’s achievements to consultations before taking critical decisions affecting the labour force:
“Our achievements so far were as a result of strategic fiscal and monetary policy decisions. In some instances, we partnered with stakeholders such as labour unions.
“A good example was during the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) review and the national minimum wage negotiations. This consultative approach aligns with ILO’s vision to keep communications open, create jobs, ensure social justice and eliminate exploitation of workers,” he added.
Responding, Ryder told President Buhari that he visited Nigeria to attend the Global Youth Employment Forum where over 60 countries have gathered to address the most pressing challenge of finding decent jobs for young people.
He also expressed ILO’s commitment to existing partnership and cooperation with Nigeria, adding: “We have worked with the Labour Ministry to prepare employment policies on youth employment, migration safety and health productivity. The focus is on practical implementation of these plans.”