Mr Tony Elumelu, a Nigerian industrialist, has advised state governors to place high priority on promoting youths’ entrepreneurship for self employment.
Elumelu, also the Chairman, Heirs Holdings Group, said this at the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) 2023 induction for newly elected governors in Abuja on Monday.
He said that Nigeria had a population of about 220 million which was the largest in Africa, adding that large chunk of the population consisted of young people of below 35 years of age.
“We know politics sees many interest groups and stakeholders, competing, jostling – but your success will mean prioritising the largest stakeholders group in your states, our youth.
“I urge you all to prioritise youth engagement,” he said.
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Elumelu, also chairman, the United Bank for Africa and Transcorp Group, advised governors to create the most impact and catalyse socio-economic development and growth in their respective states and Nigeria at large.
He advised them to partner with the private sector in the development of the country by creating the right environment for states to grow business and increase the country Gross Domestic Product (GTB).
“Look at Singapore, a country with six million people. In 1965, the country’s GDP per capita stood at 500 dollars. In 1991 per capital GDP stood at 14, 500 dollars.
“Today the per capital GDP stands at 55, 000 dollars making the country one of the most developed and thriving countries in the world. This can be your state’s story too.
“Singapore is a city state with no oil, no abundance of natural resources, just human resources and purposeful leadership,” he said.
Elumelu said that Singapore did not just got there by mistake, as it took deliberate actions by focused leadership that started with the country’s post-independence leader, Lee Kuan Yew.
He said sound financial and economic policy coupled with a corruption free environment and technological advancement led to massive increase in the standard of living of the people and reduction in poverty.
Elumelu urged governors to create a platform for the young majority to thrive, be heard, and contribute to national development through entrepreneurship.
“The Nigeria youth unemployment rate is projected at about 51 per cent in 2023,’’ he said.
He said that youth engagement was crucial for the development of any society, and entrepreneurship could play a significant role in driving the engagement.
According to him, entrepreneurship is a transformative process as it helps explore creativity, pursue passions, and allow contributing meaningful impact on our own communities.
“Each of the governors here has a responsibility and should commit to creating favourable policies that ensure these businesses thrive.
“It is crucial for leaders to create an enabling environment that empowers and supports our young people to harness their potential and create wealth for our nation,” he said.
He advised governors to address challenges facing Small and Medium Scales Enterprises in the country and also invest on infrastructure to promote entrepreneurship, especially among youth.
“Nigeria’s next generations are our hope for a better and more prosperous future.
“They are dynamic, vocal, and patriotic – but they need our support, attention, empathy. They need our action! We need their participation in our society. We should embrace and welcome this.
“To our political leaders, united today, in this essential forum, I say create more private sector friendly policies to increase wealth creation and encourage entrepreneurship.
“As leaders, policymakers, and stakeholders in our society, we must recognise the potential of entrepreneurship to promote youth engagement and wealth creation in Nigeria,” he said. (NAN)
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