THE State Government has assured Lagosians that the N25billion Empowerment Trust Fund would be accessible by every qualified person with convincing business ideas and innovations irrespective of status, locations, beliefs or political affiliations.
Speaking in an interview session with newsmen, Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti, commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment in the state, said that the decision to inject the fund was to grant soft loans to young entrepreneurs within the next four years with the interest rate of about one percent administrative charges which is considered among the lowest in the country and the whole of West Africa.
Durosinmi-Etti further stated that the government would assist in making other job areas attractive through provision of good environment for business activities rather than allowing the populace concentrate on the few available job areas like the multinationals, oil companies, banking sectors and the civil service.
The commissioner expressed confidence that the rate of unemployment across the state would have been reduced drastically before the expiration of the four-year term of the Employment Trust Fund.
He noted that the board comprises individuals from private sector with proven integrity and experience to handle the assignment and just two government officials.
Durosinmi-Etti traced the history of the high rate of unemployment to non-inclusion of skills acquisition programme into the school curriculums 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” he said.
The commissioner emphasised that with the determination of the present administration 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 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.
Durosinmi-Etti, however pleaded with Lagosians to give the change mantra in the state a chance, trust the present administration and be progressive partners towards the attainment of a Lagos that would be the cynosure of all eyes in eradication of unemployment.
— Jan 13, 2016 @ 15:30 GMT