By Jariatu S. Bangura
President Julius Maada Bio at the state opening of the sixth Parliament has proclaimed that his government will institute a Presidential Initiative with the aim to focusing on youth employment and job creation within his next five years in governance.
He said the employment opportunities will span various sectors, encompassing skilled and unskilled positions and long-term and seasonal engagements.
He said youth unemployment, persistently prevalent within the society, presents a formidable threat to sustaining economic growth, stability, and the overall prosperity of our nation.
In Sierra Leone, he noted that the youth demographic, encompassing individuals between the ages of 15 and 35, constitutes over a third of the country’s population.
“Unfortunately, a significant portion of the young individuals residing in urban areas, who are either attending school, university nor engaged in formal training, face the distressing realities of unemployment and vulnerability to drug addiction,” he noted.
President Bio continued to states that even in rural areas, the lack of compelling incentives has resulted in limited youth participation in productive endeavours. He said university graduates, regrettably, often find themselves unemployed and trapped in the unemployment cycle, urban and rural youth become susceptible to exploitation by opportunistic forces, leading to unproductivity and delinquency.
He maintained that to harness the boundless energy and potential of the youth and foster inclusive and enduring prosperity throughout the country, his government pledged to continue championing their course and will steadfastly adhering to their commitments to the youth Employment Scheme.
He added that they will instill hope, provide opportunities, and empower the youth to forge a prosperous and secure future and together, they will develop a path towards a stronger democracy, enhanced economic productivity, and heightened national security.