Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki, yesterday said the Senate was considering ways of promoting “Aso-Oke” fabrics as material for school pupils uniforms.

He said as parts of its “#BuyNiajaToGrowNaira” campaign’, the 8th Senate was considering promoting Aso- Oke materials to be used as school pupils’ caps and cardigans to provide large number of jobs and generate enough revenue.

He spoke in Ilorin at the official flag-off of 40,000 Saraki’s Skill acquisition, Training and Empowerment Programme (STEP) for the first batch of 250 youths resident in the state. Saraki, under the scheme, will provide 40,000 direct jobs for the youths in various vocations.

Speaking at the ceremony , graced by Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, some federal lawmakers and the Speaker, Kwara state House of Assembly, Dr Ali Ahmad, Saraki challenged political leaders in the country to empower the youths to be job creators in order to reduce the high employment rate.

He said young men and women, who had opted for entrepreneurship in the face of unavailability of white collar jobs, should be encouraged and motivated in order to become employers of labour. “Leaders must develop future oriented technology, training and employment schemes to integrate the younger population into our new economy.

“We must develop Nigerian young men and women entrepreneurs who can also be employers of labour, instead of looking for non-existing jobs. STEP will focus on computer engineering, software development, animation, cinematography, agro-business and other areas that can boost self-employment. “Under Skills acquisition, Training & Empowerment Programme (STEP), 40,000 youths will be trained over 4 years with advanced skills,” he said.

Speaking further , Saraki said, “at this time when we campaign for #BuyNiajaToGrowNaira, in which I am a front line crusader and Kwara, being the home of Aso-Oke throughout the world, we are looking for how we can make Aso-Oke the material for School Pupils’ caps and Cardigans. “With this, we would have generated hundreds of thousands of jobs and generated enough revenues for our state and the country at large.”

In a paper presented at the event,former Minister of Sports,Mallam Bolaji Abdullhi said unemployment was one of the biggest challenges facing governments across the globe adding that Nigeria is contending with a time bomb of 34 million unemployed youths”.

Abdullahi, in his paper titled “Where are the Jobs?, stated that there was mismatch in the kind of skill supplied by higher institutions of learning and what the modern society requires. He said further that recent report showed that only 10 percent of graduates are employable while the remaining 90 percent will need to be retrained to meet current trend. 

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