President Bola Tinubu has launched National Talent Export Programme, NATEP, to try to shore up Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings.

The event took place at the weekend at the Microsoft Office in New York, on the sidelines of the 78th United Nations General Assembly, UNGA.

Represented by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Doris Uzoka-Anite, the President said the new initiative would seek to position Nigeria as an export hub for talent outsourcing in Africa, citing India, Bangladesh, Mexico and The Philippines.

Welcoming dignitaries to the event, Dr. Uzoka-Anite explained that the National Talent Export Programme was a key national initiative that would serve as a Special Purpose Vehicle, SPV, to position Nigeria as a leading global hub for service exports, talent sourcing and talent exports.

According to the Minister, NATEP will serve as a dedicated entity to address the unique needs and challenges faced by the talent and service export industry.

She said the programme would lay special emphasis on enhancing competitiveness, fostering innovation, and driving sustainable growth through trade in services.

She said NATEP was part of the strategy towards achieving President Tinubu’s agenda for job creation, which will target the creation of one million in-demand jobs across Nigeria, over a 5-year period.

“This initiative will do three things for us as a country. One, it will create millions of jobs for our young people over the next 5 years and beyond. Secondly, it will bring in foreign exchange that our economy needs through remittances from talents that will be exported abroad and those that will be living in Nigeria and working remotely for organisations outside Nigeria and thirdly, it will generate huge tax income for state governments,” the minister said.

In a goodwill message, the Managing Director of the World Economic Forum, Saadia Zahidi, said NATEP was a timely initiative to address the very important areas of skills and jobs for Nigeria and the world.

She stated that the WEF would look forward to partnering with Nigeria on the programme.

“This is an important programme that is coming at the right time. We at WEF stand ready to work with the Nigerian government on this great initiative.”

While appreciating the initiative, the Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani, said the ministry would collaborate and support the programme to achieve its objectives.

Dr. Tijani explained the importance of talents and in-demand workforce as critical part of the global economic structure, saying such is the reason why leading countries across the world are intentional about attracting and retaining top talents.

Other speakers at the event also acknowledged how auspicious and ambitious NATEP was as a national initiative capable of changing the economic fortunes of Nigeria just like India that had been attracting over 300 billion dollars annually from talents export.

The speakers commended the Federal Government on the laudable initiative and gave their commitment towards supporting the programme.

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