By Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
Over seven million jobs have been created through engagements in the agricultural sector, particularly the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has said.
He made this disclosure at the weekend in Port Harcourt at sixth graduation ceremony of the Empowerment Support Initiative (ESI), founded by the wife of the Minister of Transportation and former Governor of Rivers State, Mrs. Judith Amaechi.
In addition, Mohammed said the federal government has created thousands of jobs through its various programmes across other sectors.
‘’In agriculture, for example, this administration has created over seven million jobs. When the administration assumed office in May 2015, about five million farmers were engaged in rice production. Thanks to the administration’s Anchor Borrowers Programme, the number of farmers engaged in rice production today stands at 12.2 million. These are verifiable facts, not fiction,’’ he said.
The minister said 69,736 direct and indirect jobs have been created in the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing.
Giving the breakdown, he said 38,391 jobs were created in the Works sector; 29,605 in Housing, while a further 1,740 jobs were created in the power sector.
According to Mohammed, the government National Social Investment Programmes have created at least 200,000 jobs, in addition to empowering 500,000 others under the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP).
He also said cooks are not left out as 61,352 cooks have been employed under the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, through which 6.4 million school children in 33,981 schools across 20 states are being fed with one meal a day.
He commended Mrs Amaechi for establishing the ESI programme, which is an entrepreneurial and skills acquisition programme for youths and women of the Niger Delta, saying such programmes complement the federal government’s efforts to provide jobs for the citizens.
‘’National development is not just the duty of the government, but that of the citizens. In other words, all of us, as citizens, have a role to play in ensuring the development of our country. This has been amply demonstrated by Mrs. Amaechi in setting up this
Empowerment Support Initiative,’’ he said.
He charged the graduands to make the best use of the opportunities that the ESI programme has given them, saying that is the best way they can justify the efforts of the ESI founder.