Nigeria involves youth in policy formulation

By Cyril Okonkwo, Abuja

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The Nigerian government says it is involving youths in policy formulation to bring their ideas on entertainment and technology.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said many young persons in Nigeria have innovative ideas and needed encouragement.

Professor Osinbajo was speaking at a presidential dinner for the Global Youth Empowerment Forum of the International Labour Organisation, ILO, held in Abuja on Friday.

He said; “So, I have under my office an entertainment and technology advisory group, where I have young people in entertainment and technology, who are talking to me and talking to other government officials about what sorts of policies we should have in entertainment and in technology to make it easier for them to do business.

“And that has proven to be useful because there is a lot of companies today that are involved in FinTech, mobile payment systems and all manner of payment systems, but they are not banks.”

The vice president said; “They are doing incredible work and there is a lot of turnover in their businesses, but because they are not banks the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, wants to regulate them almost as it they were banks.
“So, with the benefit of these young men and women who work with me in the advisory group, we were able to design new strategies and new ideas for the CBN to be able to license this category of financial technology companies that are not banks to make it easier for them to do their business.”

“Government would keep doing this because the environment is dynamic with many policies of government getting outdated,” Professor Osinbajo stated.

According to him, government would need to move ahead with some of the changes taking place, especially some of the disruptive ideas that are coming from the youths.

Advantage of technology
Professor Osinbajo urged the youth to continue to take advantage of the technological advancements available to them to bring positive change in society.

The Director-General of the International Labour Organisation, Guy Ryder, said that the decision of the organisation to hold the youth forum in Abuja, Nigeria was a very good one.

Ryder stated that the forum afforded the participants the opportunity to know more about Nigeria.

“One of the three things which I think our forum has served to achieve is that many people from around the world, who have traveled from the all the regions of the world, have gained knowledge about Nigeria and Nigerians.

“The forum brought people from different experiences, different cultures and different regions to talk and exchange views,” Ryder explained.

He said; “In a world where it seems to me that dialogue is becoming more and more problematic—dialogue of a social nature, dialogue between nations—to have young people convened, coming together and interacting in this way is in itself, I believe, of great value.”

He said that forum helped the ILO to benefit from the advice and perspectives of young people.

According to Ryder, the purpose of the ILO when it addresses youth employment issues is “not simply to work for young people but to work with young people.”

He said the forum in Abuja demonstrated that intent, but pointed out that it would only be realised if the outcome of the forum serves to guide the ILO in the future.

Ryder assured the participants that their coming to Abuja for the forum was not just to interact with people from other countries, but that their participation was to give advice to the ILO.

Youths from over 60 countries across the world participated in the two-day forum.

They discussed on the place of the youth in the world in the 21st Century and the challenges that may stand on their way as well as opportunities available to them.

Mercy Chukwudiebere