… Promises transparency and equal opportunity for all
… Decries deficit in local skilled artisans
Lagos State Government has disclosed that its decision to inject 25 billion naira empowerment fund aimed at granting soft loans to young entrepreneurs in the State within the next four years with the interest rate of about one per cent administrative charges on the loan is unrivalled all across the country and the whole of West Africa.
The State Government also promise to make the loan accessible to every qualified Lagosian who has convincing business ideas and innovations regardless of status, locations, beliefs or political affiliations, saying that the newly constituted board members in charge of the Trust Fund were compositions of impeccable individuals mainly from the private sector with just two government officials.
Speaking in Lagos on Monday in an interview session, the State Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Hon. Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti expressed the belief that rate of unemployment across the State would have been reduced drastically before the expiration of the four year term of the Employment Trust Fund.
The Commissioner said that it is not loan that basically prosper the business of an entrepreneur but the enabling environment provided by government would assist in making other job areas attractive through provision of good environment for business activities to thrive rather than allowing the populace concentrate on the few available job areas like the multinationals, oil companies, banking sectors and the civil service.
Explaining how the issue of unemployment gained prominence in the country, Hon. Durosinmi-Etti traced the history of the skyrocketed rate of unemployment to non-inclusive school curriculums in area of skills acquisition which according to him forms part of cognitive value that had gone into extinction.
“When examining the issues of unemployment, it is pertinent to study it from the indices perspective. There is disaggregated unemployment, underemployment and structural unemployment. This implies that there are graduates seeking for employment where their expertise is not needed but are bent on having such jobs because of the monetary turnovers” the Commissioner explained, advocating renewed value reorientation among job seekers and young entrepreneurs.
He said that with the determination of the present administration in the State to address the skill gap deficiency in the State through investment in skills acquisition centres to meet up with present day’s needs and demands, the influx of foreign artisans into the country would become a history.
He described the situation where the jobs that could be undertaken by Nigerian artisans are given to artisans from neighbouring countries as worrisome, stressing that the trend could be reversed if the home-based artisans are equipped with qualitative skills that would be more attractive to the private sector.
“Presently, about sixty to seventy per cent of skilled jobs in our country is being handled by foreign artisans, the Lekki Free Trade Zone as of today, has the deficit skill gap of almost 2,000 technicians that they couldn’t get among our artisans, contractors handling construction works in the country comes into Nigeria with their workers because they don’t have confidence in our artisans so I kept wondering that can’t we have Nigerians who have those vocational skills who could also bridge the gap of the over fifty percent unemployment rate in the State?” said the Commissioner.
The Wealth Creation boss, however pleaded with Lagosians to give the change mantra in the State a chance, trust the present administration in the State and be progressive partners towards the attainment of a Lagos that will be the cynosure of all eyes in eradication of unemployment.