A group, the Nigerian Technology Takeoff (NTT) has called on Rivers State governor Siminalayi Fubara to diversify the state’s economy by investing heavily in agriculture, IT and production in order to create thousands of jobs for the youths and make them key players in the economy.
The national coordinator of NTT, Engr. Wiseben Kristopher, who spoke to reporters in Port Harcourt, also stressed the need for the governor to map out a strategy to identify the number of unemployed and underemployed graduates for special skill trainings.
He said that while NTT backs Fubara’s Port Harcourt Ring Road project because it would create more jobs, improve the states transportation and enhance the ease of doing business, he noted that agriculture will create more jobs for the people.
Wiseben, declared that an investment in agriculture and the production of goods and services, can on its own create diverse employment opportunities and sustain Rivers economy of well managed.
He appealed to Fubara to avoid making the mistake of creating jobs for the civil service and teaching, while neglecting critical sectors like agriculture, IT and the production of goods and services.
He noted that in the age of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and daily startups of businesses by youths in highly advanced economies, Rivers can take a giant step in encouraging the youths to tow the same line.
Wiseben said:” We know that Rivers stands to gain immensely by investing in agriculture, IT and our local technology to become a production economy, rather than one that just consumes.
“Within agriculture itself there are layers upon layers of opportunities that truly give meaning to multiplier effect. With investment in agriculture, you have a chain of entrepreneurs who grow crops, process them, and another set that turn them to finished goods.
“There is also the unexplored area of IT, which has stood out an emerging power like India. IT jobs are plentiful in India to the point that Indian youths are selective of the kind of IT job they want to do. What that simply means is that the Indians have addressed the issue of unemployment.
“That is why the unemployment rate in India among people aged 15 years and above dropped to 7.7 per cent in May 2023. In April it was 8.5 per cent in the previous month.
“But in Nigeria, in 2022, the unemployment rate had increased to 37.7per cent and has surpassed 40 per cent in 2023.”