Jonathan expresses concern over high unemployment rate, launches 370,000 jobs’ scheme

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Written by Dotun Oladipo

The proceeds from partial removal of fuel subsidy will be channelled towards creating about 370, 000 jobs this year, President Goodluck Jonathan announced on Monday.
Speaking at the launch of the Public Works and Women/Youth Employment (PW/WYE) at the Banquet Hall of the State House, he said it was in line with his resolve to generate jobs across the country.
Jonathan disclosed that the job creation project is a component of the Subsidy Re-investment and Empowerment Programme (SURE).
It will be recalled that the Federal Government came up with the SURE programme as part of the palliative measures announced in the wake of nationwide strike called by Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress that paralysed the nation for a week.
Dr. Christopher Kolade was named in January as the Chairman of the Subsidy Reinvestment Boards.
According to Jonathan, the PW/WYE was designed to create immediate employment opportunities for women and youths in labour intensive public works.
The breakdown shows that 50,000 skilled jobs will be generated while adding about 320,000 in the unskilled category.
It is expected that the project will be implemented in partnership with the state and local governments.
Jonathan spoke further: “This administration views the prevailing high rate of  unemployment among our youths with great concern, especially with the rising state of youth militancy, violent crimes and other social vices inimical to the political and economic stability of the nation.
“The burden of addressing and reversing the trend should involve every segment of our society.
“The SURE Programme seeks to target the largest population of unskilled unemployed and under-employed poor women and youths as well as other vulnerable groups in our society by presenting them with ample opportunities in the public works programmes and internships in firms for the skilled and educated.”
The President explained that government targets to generate the unskilled employment focusing on areas such as  erosion control, waste disposal and sanitation, tree planting and afforestation, administration and maintenance of rural feeder roads, health and education institutions.
On funding, Jonathan assured Nigerians that part of the money accruing from partial removal of fuel subsidy will be channelled towards the project.
The Chairman of SURE Board, Dr. Christopher Kolade, had this to say in his remarks: “To the young people and women, the intentions of the government is to deliver genuine relief to people.
“We assure you this is for real but the success is the genuine participation of the beneficiaries.
“Communication is of the essence in this exercise.
“It will be important that all participants let us know where it is failing so that we can correct the situation.”
The ceremony was attended by Vice President Namadi Sambo, state governors, ministers, members of the National Assembly, a cross section of unemployed youths and some members of the National Youth Service Corps.

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