Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has said a country with a population of close to 200 million has to be able to feed itself.
“A country with a population of close to 200 million has to be able to feed itself. We cannot rely on importing food.”
He also said his administration has lifted five million Nigerians out of extreme poverty in three years.
Speaking at the opening of the global youth employment forum of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Abuja, yesterday, Buhari said this was achieved through the National Social Investment Programme (N-SIP).
He said N-SIP has produced positive outcome in the enrollment of children in schools.
Represented by Boss Mustapha, secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), Buhari said the government understands the need to focus on youth empowerment to create employment.
“We note at this point that the issue of youth unemployment has assumed a global significant, and on the front burner of development discourse,” he said.
“The government of Nigeria understands the need to focus attention on youth empowerment by creating the enabling environment for job opportunities and capacity building.
“The present administration from the onset, made the investment in our people, one of the key goals of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, which is the national development blueprint from the period of 2017 to 2020.”
He said that the last four years, his government has prioritised agriculture, housing and infrastructure development.
“Our focus in these areas was to create jobs today and ensure peace and equitable prosperity for future generations.”
He attributed some of the achievements of his government to consultations before taking critical decisions affecting the labour force.
“Our achievements to date were as a result of strategic fiscal and monetary policy decisions. In some instances, we partnered with stakeholders such as the labour unions.
“A good example was during the African Continental Free Trade Agreement review and the National Minimum Wage negotiations. This consultative approach aligns with the vision of the ILO to keep communications open, create jobs, ensure social justice and eliminate worker exploitation.”
Earlier in his remarks, Mr Ryder told the president that he was in Nigeria to attend the Global Youth Employment Forum where over 60 countries have gathered to address practically the most pressing challenge of finding decent jobs for young people.