Experts in Bayelsa State have urged the Federal, State Governments and wealthy Nigerians to invest more resources in youth empowerment as part of strategy for economy growth in 2018.
They made the call on Wednesday in Yenagoa, noting that youths are important components in achieving nation growth.
Mr Ebizmor Jerry, an economist, said investing in youths could go a long way in checkmating restiveness and the spate of crimes among them in the society. He noted that massive investments in agriculture and creation of progressive programmes among the youth could meaningfully engage their minds actively.
“The youth population is the largest in this country; an estimated 80 per cent of the nation’s young people live in cities and rural areas across the country.
“This group of people can do wonders in government’s plans for economic advancement in both sciences and agriculture, especially in this new year and beyond.
“However, opportunities for youths in these areas: science, agriculture, power and energy are limited, leaving them marginalised economically and in the rural areas, most youths are without work.
“Following the impact of high rates of poverty and unemployment, these young people are migrating from one country to another in search of opportunities.
“The youths can become agro-entrepreneurs among others with the support of individuals and government at all levels, with a view to curbing criminality,” he said.
Mr Monday Adeyemi, an analyst, also said if all tiers of government will massively invest in youths this year, “ it will help revive the nation’s economy”.
Adeyemi decried the level of government’s neglect of youths, especially in their quest to have access to loans to drive their businesses. He, therefore, urged the federal and state governments to create opportunities that would provide easy access to loans.
“There is also need to support the local governments and private organisations with empowerment programmes aimed at helping rural young people to create employment opportunities through agriculture,” he said.
Adeyemi, however, urged youths to shun social vices and embrace some already created government progrmmmes aimed at empowering them.
Boniface Onuh, an applicant, commended some government empowerment progrmmes but expressed worry over difficulties in accessing loans. Onuh said after acquiring some skills during his NYSC service year, he could not get the much needed financial assistance to set up a business.