The federal government has announced plans to set up a Presidential Initiative for Youth Enterprise Clusters worth N110 billion.

He made the disclosure on Thursday during the commemoration of the 2024 World Population Day at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

This, he noted, is in addition to a Youth Data Bank and a National Youth Development Bank, as well as the already existing N110 billion Youth Investment Fund.

The vice president stated: “It is worthy to note that under this present dispensation, we were able to fulfill the 30% quota for youth inclusion in governance across all tiers of government and most importantly, the President has walked the talk. He approved the sum of N110 billion for the Youth Investment Fund.

“We are setting up the National Youth Development Bank. We are going to set up the Presidential Initiative for Youth Enterprise Clusters worth N110 billion. This is in addition to the Youth Data Bank that the minister earlier talked about that we are setting up.”

Shettima has stressed the need for improved data collection, analysis, and deployment of technology to generate more comprehensive and inclusive evidence to guide government decisions, investment choices, and pathway to development.

According to him, deploying the best technology to strengthen data systems and institutions, upgrading human resources and capacities, and promoting partnerships that will facilitate generating and using inclusive data will guarantee a resilient and equitable future for all Nigerians.

The vice president observed that this year’s theme which recognizes the power of data and emphasizes the promises of inclusive data is instructive.

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He said: “Data is life. Data is our evidence. Data is our performance. It is the most realistic picture of situations, trends, and patterns; it tells us how many we are, with an understanding of the age structure, sex structure, location, and more. Data is the true story of our experiences and informs us about today and the future through scientific projections, forecasting, and analysis.

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“Despite our last census taking place about 18 years ago, Nigeria has never relegated the importance of data. This is why this day invites us to recommit to improving our data collection, analysis, and deployment of modern technology.

“This will generate more comprehensive and inclusive evidence to guide government decisions, investment options, and development paths.”

The vice president observed that this year’s theme which recognizes the power of data and emphasizes the promises of inclusive data is instructive.

He said: “Data is life. Data is our evidence. Data is our performance. It is the most realistic picture of situations, trends, and patterns; it tells us how many we are, with an understanding of the age structure, sex structure, location, and more. Data is the true story of our experiences and informs us about today and the future through scientific projections, forecasting, and analysis.

“Despite our last census taking place about 18 years ago, Nigeria has never relegated the importance of data. This is why this day invites us to recommit to improving our data collection, analysis, and deployment of modern technology.

“This will generate more comprehensive and inclusive evidence to guide government decisions, investment options, and development paths.”

He listed the needs to include the provision of decent jobs that pay sustainable incomes to the working-age population, the creation of affordable and equitable access to quality healthcare services at all levels, and quality education for all.

As Chairman of the National Economic Council (NEC), Shettima pledged to use the platform and other networks within his purview to ensure people and communities remain the government’s focus for driving development.

“I believe that aligning the people with investment choices will transform quantity (numbers) to quality (capital) and from liability to assets, guaranteeing rapid economic growth,” he stated.

Earlier in her address, Minister of Youth Development, Dr. Jamila Bio-Ibrahim, commended the commitment of partners evident in their participation at the event, urging them to leverage scientific evidence to resolve the myriads of challenges confronting the various segments of the world’s population.

She also disclosed plans by the Federal Government to build a youth data bank that will be dedicated to harnessing the potentials of young people for national development regardless of their location and status.

Also, Chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC), Nasir Isa Kwarra, noted the important role of periodic censuses in generating administrative data for inclusive planning and sustainable development.

He pointed out that Nigeria’s last census was conducted nearly two decades ago, and stressed the urgent need for updated, credible, and comprehensive data to inform policy decisions and interventions.

Earlier, United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, called for renewed commitment and investment to turn the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action promises into reality.

Guterres, who was represented by Director of the UN Information Centre for Nigeria, Ronald David Kayanja, stressed the critical role of women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in sustainable development.

He noted progress made since the programme’s adoption, including increased access to modern contraception and a 34% reduction in maternal deaths since 2000.

However, the UN chief highlighted persistent inequalities, saying “it is outrageous that well into the 21st century, around 800 women die needlessly every day in pregnancy and childbirth – the vast majority in developing countries,” and stressed the importance of data collection in understanding these problems and tailoring solutions.

Also, Executive Director United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Dr. Natalia Kanem, represented by UNFPA Nigeria Deputy Representative, Mr. Koessan Kuawu, emphasized the need for inclusive data systems that capture human diversity.

Kanem stated: “To go uncounted is to be made invisible and, as a result, left unserved.”

The UNFPA chief called for commitment to ensure data systems capture the full range of human diversity, stating, “When data and other systems work for those on the margins, they work for everyone.”

On his part, Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Population, Hon. Okunjimi John Odimayo, who was represented at the event, urged synergy of ideas and resources among stakeholders to ensure and promote inclusive development across the country.

He said the commemoration of the 2024 World Population Day provides a forum for partners to appraise the shared journey of the world’s population with the view to harnessing unique opportunities for ensuring development.