Ex­perts Charge Pri­vate Sec­tor on In­vest­ment in Youths

THISDAY - - ENTREPRENEURS -

In an at­tempt to over­turn the eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion of the coun­try, ex­perts have charged mem­bers of the pri­vate sec­tor to in­vest in Nige­rian youths so as to help turn around the econ­omy. The ex­perts who dou­ble as high-level stake­hold­ers spread across Na­tional Pop­u­la­tion Com­mis­sion, UN agen­cies led by the United Na­tions Pop­u­la­tion Fund (UNFPA), HACEY Health Ini­tia­tive, GBC Health, Pop­u­la­tion Coun­cil and ONE Campaign re­cently, held the first ever Pri­vate Sec­tor Con­fer­ence which both­ers on how pri­vate sec­tor can in­vest in young peo­ple to har­ness­ing the de­mo­graphic div­i­dends in Nige­ria.

Ac­cord­ing to the Di­rec­tor of Re­search and De­vel­op­ment, Hacey Health Ini­tia­tive, Paul Oja­juni, em­pow­er­ment and ed­u­ca­tion of young peo­ple is vi­tal to the pro­mo­tion of ac­cel­er­ated eco­nomic growth, urg­ing the con­cerned par­ties to tap into the re­sources of the youths of Nige­ria so as to de­velop the econ­omy.

He said that the Nige­rian pop­u­la­tion is re­ally young, so, “we con­sider that an un­tapped re­source and then we be­lieve that if in­vest­ment is made in that pop­u­la­tion, there will be re­turns on in­vest­ment which will lead to ac­cel­er­ated eco­nomic growth.

“The con­cept of de­mo­graphic div­i­dend is hav­ing a very young, healthy and pro­duc­tive young pop­u­la­tion that can ac­tu­ally con­trib­ute to the so­ci­ety,” he added.

Fur­ther­more, Oja­juni urged the Nige­rian youths to value op­por­tu­ni­ties and ad­vised them to hold the bull by its horns so as to tap into the op­por­tu­ni­ties that are avail­able and will arise as a re­sult of this ini­tia­tive.

“The youths need to be proac­tive re­gard­ing things that they need to do, sec­ondly, they need to be able to cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties rather wait for the gov­ern­ment to cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties for them,” Oja­juni added.

“The pop­u­la­tion of Nige­ria is in­creas­ing rapidly and we need to con­trol the size at which the pop­u­la­tion is in­creas­ing and im­prove our life ex­pectancy. The gov­ern­ment can­not do it alone; the de­vel­op­ment part­ners can­not do it alone,” Sylvia Ade­bajo, coun­try di­rec­tor, Pop­u­la­tion Coun­cil said at Nige­ria’s first pri­vate sec­tor Con­fer­ence on De­mo­graphic Div­i­dend in Nige­ria held in La­gos.

“We need to en­gage the pri­vate sec­tor to con­trib­ute to the de­vel­op­ment of our hu­man cap­i­tal to achieve de­mo­graphic div­i­dend,” Ade­bajo said.

“The shape of the pop­u­la­tion of any na­tion de­ter­mines its level of de­vel­op­ment and de­mo­graphic div­i­dend is not au­to­matic, it has to be planned for,” Osaretin Adonri, as­sis­tant rep­re­sen­ta­tive, United Na­tions Pop­u­la­tion Fund (UNFPA) rep­re­sent­ing Diene Ki­eta, coun­try rep­re­sen­ta­tive, said.

“We must cre­ate the pop­u­la­tion struc­ture that we want and that struc­ture must be the one that has more of our pop­u­la­tion work­ing than the per­cent­age that is de­pen­dent.

“To be able to in­crease the pop­u­la­tion that is work­ing and re­duce the de­pen­dent pop­u­la­tion we must start from plan­ning the pop­u­la­tion and that is where fam­ily plan­ning is very im­por­tant,” Adonri said.

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