Creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive and flourish is one of the key priorities of the Buhari administration meant to spur the growth of the economy and create opportunities for gainful employment.
This view was expressed yesterday by the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the federal government and a leading Chinese technology firm Huawei in his office.
The MOU provides 2000 Information and Communication Technology (ICT) trainee jobs to young Nigerians next year under the “Huawei’s Seeds for the Future programme.”
According to the vice-president who was joined by the Minister for Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige and Communications Minister, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, “ICT is one of the quickest ways people can get decent jobs, so we think this is absolutely important.”
Continuing, he said “in the change agenda, how to grow the economy is important, and we want to create ICT hubs and support existing ones. We thank Huawei for this initiative of advancing technology in Nigeria, apart from the job creation itself.”
Observing the poor rating of Nigeria in the global rankings of business environments, the vice-president disclosed that the president has already given the Trade, Industry and Investment Minister the task of addressing the challenges of doing business in the country.
At an event also attended by the Chinese Ambassador Mr. Gu Xiaojie, the vice-president said the relationship between Nigeria and China is a strategic one, and urged Chinese investors and business leaders to consider Nigeria for manufacturing plants.
He said the Chinese investors “should encourage not just the selling, but also the manufacturing of products in Nigeria.”
This he said would lead to the mutual prosperity for both countries.
According to the Chinese envoy, China is in partnership with the Buhari presidency in the “change” agenda, listing the nation’s plans to be involved in such areas like agricultural modernisation, industrialisation, infrastructure, trade and investment, poverty alleviation, and peace and security among others.
Nigeria’s Ministers for Labour and Communications, whose ministries would select the 2000 trainees, signed the MOU on behalf of the federal government while Messrs. Li Teng and Lanre Odekunle, Managing Director and Deputy Managing Director respectively signed for Huawei. Mr. Richard Cao, the Vice-President of Huawei West Africa was in attendance.
Both ministers commended the initiative. While Ngige stated that “China has blazed the trail,” on the job creation MOU with the Buhari presidency, Shittu praised the effort and asked the Chinese people to consider setting up a technology institute or polytechnic in Nigeria.
According to Cao, “Huawei has long been committed to developing Nigeria’s ICT sector, and is working hard to build a Better Connected Nigeria. At the same time as delivering cutting-edge ICT technologies and services to Nigeria, we are also committed to fostering a skilled local ICT workforce.”
He added: “As a leading global supplier of ICT products and solutions, Huawei will continue to share its global experience in the development of the ICT industry with the Nigeria government. We hope to become a strategic partner to the Nigeria government in the future ICT planning and development, and will continue to expand our contributions and training programmes in Nigeria.”
The ICT training initiative strives to create a platform to nurture work-ready ICT experts by providing authentic ICT industry-relevant education.
The Chinese firm also introduced a group of Nigerian ladies it has selected to embark on an ICT training mission to China to the vice-president, who praised the idea saying it promotes women empowerment and advances girl-child education, both concepts which are dear to the Buhari administration.