The Federal Government is set to reverse youth unemployment by investing $617 million in Digital and Creative Enterprises (i-DICE) programme.
i-DICE is a government programme to promote investment in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Creative Industries, as part of efforts to create more and sustainable jobs during and post COVID-19 pandemic.
Vice-President Kashim Shettima announced this while receiving update from the members of the i-DICE Steering Committee on Friday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He tasked the committee to close ranks and ensure that the programme takes off latest by the end of November this year.
“I am interested in getting a weekly update on what is being done to kick-start this programme. We also need to spread out to cover the whole country so that there is inclusivity.
“If we judiciously utilise these funds, the target impact and anticipated benefits will be immense.
“I want to assure the technical committee, all those working on this programme and our international partners, that you will get all the support that you will need.
“We mean business. My boss, President Bola Tinubu, is passionate about the transformation of this country. So, you have nothing to worry about the government’s support,” he said.
The Minister of Finance, Mr Wale Edun, speaking shortly after the meeting, said the project is in tandem with President Tinubu’s mandate of creating 1.2 million digital jobs.
He said:“This $617 million project will go a long way to achieving the President’s priorities on job creation and economic growth, particularly inclusivity. One of the major elements is going to have 50% participation by women.”
On his part, Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Mr Bosun Tijjani, said the scheme presented a unique opportunity for youths.
“The Nigerian technology and creative ecosystem has been doing well and is the best on the continent. We actually want to be a leader globally. And there’s no other way to do that than investing in the technology startups that are building these solutions.
“So, the government is putting its skin in the game to say ‘we want to support, we want to see more local confidence building’. And there is no other way to show that than by putting money in some of the startups,” he said.