BY Precious Adi
Mr Olusegun Aganga, Minister of Industry Trade and Investment stated this during the inauguration of an eight-member steering committee for the GEM project.
He said the project was aimed at enhancing job creation and increasing non-oil growth in specific high-potential value chain sectors, and would help to create 110,000 direct and 350,000 indirect jobs
The committee is chaired by Aganga, with members drawn from the ministries of Finance, Information, Communications Technology, Culture and Tourism, and Agriculture and Rural Development, as well as the National Orientation Agency.
He also said the committee was critical to enhancing inclusive economic growth through job creation and wealth generation.
“The GEM project is very important to the Federal Government and the Nigerian economy. It is an employment project by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, supported by the World Bank and the United Kingdom Department for International Development.
“The World Bank is providing a loan of about $160m, while the DFID is providing a grant of about $100m. The project is aimed at job creation and increased non-oil growth in specific high potential value chain sectors.
“The project was conceptualised after the conduct of the Growth Poll Studies in 2007. The study identified key sectors with potential growth in the economy and with high potential to generate a lot of jobs. This is what the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan and the National Enterprise Development Programme, which were launched by President Goodluck Jonathan recently, seek to achieve.” He said.
The minister added that his ministry, working with the World Bank and DFID, had already identified eight key sectors with potential for generating employment, adding that the impact of the implementation of the GEM programme would be felt in no distant future.
He said, “It is expected that the GEM programme, will create a minimum of about 460,000 jobs, comprising 110,000 direct and 350,000 indirect jobs.
“There are eight priority sectors that we have identified based on their growth and employment potential, which are also areas of focus in our NIRP and NEDEP.
“They are: Information and Communications Technology; wholesale and retail; hospitality and tourism; meat and leather; construction and real estate; entertainment industry; agro processing, light manufacturing and entrepreneurial development.”
Mr Michael Wong, the World Bank Sector Leader, Finance and Private Sector Development in Nigeria, said the bank was committed to the successful implementation of the project, adding that it would reach about 10,000 enterprises within the implementation period