County youth have been urged to turn their talents and hobbies into sources of income in order to curb unemployment and spur economic growth.
Speaking in a function over the weekend, Governor Wycliffe Oparanya said there was need for the youth to shift their attention to recreational activities such as sports and music so as to curb the problem of unemployment.
“In the developed world, the youth, through their sports and music talents contribute significantly to their countries’ GDP. It is high time we also embrace such measures,” said Mr Oparanya.
He said recreational activities not only opened avenues for employment but also contributed to the health and fitness of those involved.
“Leisure and recreational activities are important in the psychological and physical development of the youth by promoting good health, personal discipline, leadership and team building spirit,” he said.
He added: “They also provide an opportunity for appreciation, participation and creative experience in leisure, music, art, dance, drama and cultural activities.”
He encouraged the youth to focus on blue collar jobs rather than white collar jobs, citing the high number of unemployed graduates in the job market.
“There are about half a million youth who graduate from tertiary institutions annually but the economy does not have the capacity to absorb them due to reasons such as slow growth, misplaced national priority, limited skills and experience and corruption,” said Oparanya.
He urged the youth to make good use of county and national youth funds to improve their talents and abilities.
He said the county was facing numerous cases of school dropouts due to high costs in education system, poverty, lack of facilities and peer influenced.
He added that education could not be fully relied upon for youth empowerment and spurring economic growth.
“Current investment in leisure and recreation has not reflected its importance. Talented youth lack motivation and are often exploited by talent organizations,” he argued.