FG to bridge unemployment gap through digital skills acquisition – Minister

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By Peter Uwumarogie

Kashere (Gombe State), Oct. 15, 2020 The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, says the Federal Government is committed to bridging the unemployment gap in the country through digital skills acquisition.

Pantami said this on Thursday in Kashere, Akko Local Government Area of Gombe State.

He spoke while inaugurating the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) hub deployed to Federal University of Kashere.

The ICT hub was built by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).

According to the minister, the challenge of unemployment worries government.

He said it was in that regard that several interventions were being made to create the enabling environment through digital skills acquisition for youths to become employers of labour.

“The government is focusing more on developing talents through various opportunities in ICT by establishing digital and skill centres where universities and other learning centres will identify talented youths that government could assist to develop their talents,” he said.

According to him, one of the ways to combat unemployment is to create employment opportunities for the youth.

This, he said, can only happen through entrepreneurship and skills which remain the contemporary solution to unemployment.

He said that the intervention in Kashere was the third to be commissioned after those in PortHarcourt and University of Lagos.

The minister said that others were ongoing in Bauchi, Minna and other states.

Pantami said that the interventions were to bridge the gap between academia and industry.

He said that the idea was to provide platforms for youths to become self-reliant and employers of labour.

” One of the challenges we are having as a government is our challenge of many graduates without vacancies to accommodate them.

” Every year our children graduate from universities and they are looking for opportunity to serve the government, and if you go to government, the opportunities are limited.

” The vacancies in government cannot accommodate 5 per cent of our graduates. This is our major challenge,” he said.

The minister said the situation necessitated government to ” think outside the box”.

He said the only way was to change the perspective of producing potential employees to producing potential employers.

Pantami said that the government, through his ministry, was working toward developing a national policy on digital innovation and entrepreneurship.

He said this was part of measures toward empowering youths to tap into the opportunities in ICT.

Earlier, Mr Kashifu Abdullahi, the Director-General of NITDA, said the COVID-19 pandemic had presented the right opportunity for all stakeholders in the academia to shift to digital platforms to conduct research and other activities.

Abdullahi urged the university to make good use of the facility to develop youths that would leverage ICT to develop the country and proffer solutions to future challenges.

Prof. Abdullahi Gani, the Vice Chancellor of the institution, thanked the federal government for the intervention.

He assured that the facility would facilitate learning and improve quality of education in the institution.

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