The Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mal. Kashifu Inuwa, yesterday said youths in Nigeria must leverage digital skills in order to contribute to the economy pots Covid-19 era.
The DG gave the advice during an online interactive session with Nigerian youths on the topic: ‘Education, Employment & Technology in Nigeria: Gaps & Opportunities Post COVID-19 Pandemic,’ organised by Global Shapers Community, an international non-governmental organisation which specialises in outsourcing talents, creating jobs and building careers.
While urging Nigerian youths to stay committed and focused on their endeavors, Inuwa added that time to hold on to only educational qualifications without prerequisite skills is gone, especially now that the world has changed in different dimensions.
He believes that the outbreak of novel Coronavirus has been a monumental disaster globally, Nigeria inclusive, but has also led to unprecedented disruptions to the global economy, sharp drop in global crude oil prices, making Nigeria economic mainstay and financial markets struggling, massive loss of employment to the teeming youth, the lockdown of schools and institutes of higher learning, among others.
“As of March 28, 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic is causing more than 1.6 billion children and youth to be out of school in 161 countries. This is close to 80% of the world’s enrolled students,” he said. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the unemployment rate was 23.1% in 2019 according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), though some predicted it could reach 33% by 2020. Youth unemployment and underemployment is 55.4%. With the onset of the pandemic, these statistics cannot be better,” he said.
He argued that to overcome these challenges of illiteracy and unemployment amongst the population of teeming youth, there is a need for careful planning to harness the opportunities the pandemic presented by using technology for human capital development and employment for next generation to curb the impact of the pandemic,” he advised.
Inuwa further noted that by the closure of schools due to the virile nature of the virus, NITDA under the supervision of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy launched Virtually Academy for those staying at home to use their time meaningfully for learning some skills.