Saraki advocates central coordination for job creation


The Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has called for closer coordination between agencies of the government that are in-charge of youth development and job creation in order to ensure that Federal Government’s policies on job creation are aligned across board.

Speaking at a one-day Special Public Hearing on Youth Job Creation and Entrepreneurship, Saraki stated that it is imperative that the Executive, National Assembly, private sector and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) focus immediate attention on tackling youth unemployment and developmental crisis facing the country.

Saraki also stated that the primary factors contributing to high youth unemployment are high population growth outpacing economic growth; the fact that the curricula in our schools have not equipped students with appropriate skills for employment; and the lack of vibrant industries to absorb competent graduates.

“It is futile to point fingers or cast blame on any one administration and/or government programme,” Saraki said. “Nigeria’s youth deserve our immediate interest, best thinking and above all, our best efforts to create workable solutions to include their concerns in our national investment framework.”

He noted that the Special Public Hearing on Youth Job Creation and Entrepreneurship was intended to discuss issues that will inform the Federal Government’s budgetary and social policy decisions.

“For that matter, I am happy that this process has benefitted from the contributions of many civil society organisations (CSOs) that focus on youth development and empowerment,” the Senate President said.

At the end of the Public Hearing, after listening to the participating CSOs and representative of the MDAs of the Federal Government, the Senate President noted that a lot needed to be done to ensure effective inter-agency coordination and sustainability of job creation and empowerment programmes of government.

Saraki said: “There is clearly a lot of work that needed to be done. There is clearly poor monitoring in most cases. There is also a lot of overlap between agencies and departments of the Federal Government, however, there is not enough inter-agency collaboration.

“For as long as we continue to spend money on training young people, with no plan on what they should do after these trainings, there is need for a central point in the Federal Government where the coordination of some of these youth job creation activities is to be done.

“As some of my colleagues have pointed out, we must focus on the outcomes and targets of these intervention programmes. As such, we really need to review all the budgets of these MDAs to ensure that they are effectively delivering on their mandate to create jobs.

“For the youths that are here and the NGOs, my message to you is that we will need to have a holistic approach and review of what is going on with job creation across the country.”


…wife named Global Champion of UHC

The Founder and President of Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA), Mrs Toyin Saraki has been named Global Champion of Universal Health Coverage.

Mrs Saraki, whose husband is the Senate President, was given the recognition at the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Forum convened in Tokyo, recently.

The Forum, which brings together over 300 high-level policymakers, including heads of states and ministers of health and finance, recognised Mrs Saraki for her roles in advancing health services in Nigeria, especially for women and children.

UHC is defined as people and communities being able to use the preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need, of sufficient quality and timeliness to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user to financial hardship.

According to the forum, Mrs Saraki was given an award in recognition of her high-level advocacy for UHC at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, in September.

While attending the UNGA, she advocated for the implementation of innovative country and regional initiatives on policy and governance, working towards strengthening primary healthcare systems and the development of health security in Nigeria.

Her advocacy drew upon 30 years of the WBFA’s work to improve health outcomes in Nigeria, across Africa, and around the world.

While expressing gratitude for the award and to mark the Universal Health Coverage Day, Mrs Saraki said: “We must act to ensure that every person – rich or poor, old or young, living in urban or rural areas – has access to effective, timely and quality healthcare.

“The effects of Universal Health Coverage stretch far beyond health outcomes, although we are in dire need of vast improvements in that area.

“Health security reduces poverty, protects against epidemics, drives economic growth and promotes gender equality.”

“Every year, roughly 100 million people, globally, are pushed into poverty due to colossal health costs, while only 1 in 5 have social security protection that will cover lost wages in the event of an illness.

“The situation in Nigeria reflects that of many developing countries. With an estimated population of 191 million, less than 10 million of our population is covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).”

“I have been advocating for action and investment to make UHC a reality, and I am delighted that some progress have been made – the Legislative Network for Universal Health Coverage, launched in July, aims to address the issue of financing healthcare to reach all Nigerians, and the Senate’s adoption, last month, of the one per cent Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) is ground-breaking.”

“We do, however, need to consolidate and build upon these achievements as a matter of urgency. As a Global Universal Health Coverage Champion, I will advocate for the benefits of UHC all over the world – but always challenge innovators, partners, experts and legislators to prioritise Nigeria, with its burgeoning population and health challenges.”

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