The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, has said that the National Directorate of Employment is capable of tackling the menace of mass unemployment through the revival of agriculture and solid minerals exploitation.
Ngige, who was represented by a director in the ministry, Mr. John Isokwa, spoke at the ‘NDE Day’ at the 2015 Lagos International Trade Fair, a statement on Tuesday stated.
He pledged value addition and provision of policies and programmes to reposition the small and medium scale enterprise in Nigeria.
The minister commended the organisers for adopting the theme, ‘Enhancing Value Addition in the non-oil economy,’ which underscores the Federal Government’s plan to diversify the economy through the revitalisation of the non-oil sectors.
The Minister stressed that investment in the manufacturing industries, agriculture and solid minerals would expedite economic growth and development as it had the potential to impact on additional revenue generation, reduction of unemployment and alleviating poverty.
Meanwhile, the Director-General, NDE, Mallam Mohammed Abubakar, said that the directorate was determined to work assiduously with the Federal Government in its desire to modernise agriculture and related activities.
He said the National Directorate of Employment had developed a new concept of the agricultural practices and production, strategically designed to move agriculture from subsistence level to modern agro-business to ensure value addition, job creation, poverty reduction and wealth creation under the “NDE Agricultural Park Initiative”
According to the DG, who was represented by the Director, Rural Employment Programme, Mr. Kunle Obayan, the NDE Agriculture Park Initiative, is an agricultural commercial hub with high employment potential.
He explained that the programme consisted of basic infrastructure and equipment for technology-driven farming, market gardening, open cultivation of crops, produce processing and continuous capacity building and mentorship for farmers.
Through its vocational skills development, small scale enterprises, rural employment promotion and special public works, Abubakar said that 64,530 people had been engaged in productive activities across the country between January and September 2015.