August 21 2019-August 21 2020 marked an eventful year in the annals/diary of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Devlpt. At the epicentre of these events is Mr Sunday Dare, the Hon. Minister of Youth and Sports Devlpt. Since his assumption of Office a year ago ( and even now) the Minister has redeemed his promise of placing Youth and Sports on an even keel of development – a feat never achieved by his predecessors.
Policies and initiatives have been consistently pursued and implemented, with evidential impacts and resonating implications in both sectors (Youth and Sports).
In the youth segment, the visionary Minister crafted the DEEL initiative/ programme to engage and keep Nigerian youths busy through Digital skills in various ICT courses such as Coding, Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Programming etc and the Work Experience Programme.
Policies without the will to drive implementation, as they say, is useless and pointless: This is not so, with the Youth and Sports Ministry under the watch of Mr Dare. Several engagements with corporate organizations that has bent for youth development programme led to working agreements/MoU between the Ministry and partnering entities such as IBM, AfDB, CBN, JUNIOR ACHIEVERS, WILLCO GROUP, NESTLE, MTN, GOOGLE.
These Partnerships plus it’s hanging fruits birthed 10,000 Nigerian Youths that were trained in 25 courses by the IBM; $100MN worth of support from the AfDB for DEEL implementation; inclusive of other bouquet programmes such as Coding for employment.
Worth mentioning in this eventful year is the new status of the Ministry as an Entrepreneurial Development Institution (EDI) courtesy CBNs approval; as a training centre across the six Geopolitical zones, meant to enhance the capacity of our youths to apply and secure the COVID-19 loan facility for Entrepreneurship under the auspices of the CBN.
Another spectacular shift programme that signpost deliberate investment in our youth, is the recent Presidential approval for the establishment of Nigeria Youth Investment Fund( NYIF), an initiative of Sunday Dare. Typical of this administration’s commitment to harnessing the great potentials of our youths for national Development, the objective of NYIF is to fund innovativeness, ideas, skills, and talents of the youths for business enterprise.
Structures or machinery for it’s implementation are already in motion-the Minister has inaugurated Focal Group and Inter- Ministerial Technical Committees-for this purpose. In a shortwhile, the youths with fundable ideas would realize that their dreams and ideas would come to fruition under this administration. It is pertinent to state at this juncture, that a minimum of N25bn would be provided by this administration in the next 3years, totalling N75bn, to ringfence the NYIF. That is, it would strictly cater to the investment needs of persons between the ages of 18 and 35 years old.
Similar zeal for innovative ideas and the will to implement by the Youth and Sports Minister, is also at play in the Sports segment. Within the dateline of an eventful one year of Sunday Dare in Office; policies and programmes that have brought hope of restoring our glories in Sports include the Adopt Initiative, Sports Industry Policy, re- classification of Sports as Business- no longer recreation, grassroots sports Devlpt. programme/ talent hunt programme, welfare packages for living and ex- internationals (players and athletes).
BY RAMON BALOGUN
ASST. DIRECTOR- PRESS