The Federal Government has appealed to the Republic of Korea to assist Nigeria in tackling unemployment, especially among the youth and women.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige made this appeal in his office while receiving the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea in Nigeria, Mr. Kim Young-Chae.
Noting that the era of white-collar jobs was no more, Ngige said blue-collar jobs were now being created, especially in the technical field and agriculture.
He said, “I want you to assist us to create jobs because of the unemployment pressure on us here in this country, especially among the youths and women. We want you to assist us in giving agriculture a boost in order to help our farmers. Agriculture is our low hanging fruit. This will assist our country in developing a foreign exchange base so that we don’t have to spend our limited resources on importing food.
“We request assistance to enable us to create jobs. Apart from the skill acquisition centre, you established in Kogi State, which is in the North Central geo-political zone we are thinking that you should establish at least one in the other geo-political zones, namely, North-East, North-West, South-East, South-West and South-South.
“Of late, our economy has not been too good. Our economy is based on oil, which is getting old fashioned. Our production is down due to insecurity problems and price fluctuations. We need your assistance in terms of developing other areas like power.”
He called on the Republic of Korea to support Nigeria’s clean energy programme, to save resources wasted from burning oil and gas for generating electricity, saying the Labour Ministry appreciated the warm relationship existing between Nigeria and Korea and hoped that it would continue to grow from strength to strength.
He recalled that the Ministry had in the past intervened to resolve issues between Korean companies and their staff members, informing that “We intervened because we know that they are employing Nigerians. We had to save jobs. So, we think that this relationship will continue to grow. We are taking notes of all you said that you are doing, such as the jobcentre that you have in Kogi State. I don’t know the details and the capacity, but we have the Skills Development Department here. If you liaise with the department, we will be able to know the scope of the place and to offer you advice on how we can make it bigger, in order to give our people jobs.”
He noted products made by Korean companies enjoy high patronage in Nigeria, including phones, loudspeakers and electronics.
He, therefore, appealed to Korea to reciprocate Nigeria’s patronage by getting some of their raw materials from here to ensure a balance of trade between both countries.
Ngige also commended the Republic of Korea for offering educational scholarship programmes and manpower training for Nigerians.
“We saw in this ministry a letter from you saying you are giving scholarship for a training programme to some of our people for one to two years. We are processing the letter. I think we were given permission for ten people but we are asking you to do more for our workers so that they can be able to match the vagaries of office and dictates of the job they do.”
Earlier, Ambassador, Kim Young-Chae expressed his intention to increase the Trade and Investment of the Republic of Korea in Nigeria.
He said his Government offers scholarship programmes to Nigerians for Masters’ Degree and PhD Programmes as well as training for Nigerian government officials.
The Ambassador used the opportunity to solicit Nigeria’s support for the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea is now vying for the position of the Director-General of International Labour Organisation (ILO).