By Funmi Ogundare
The Chairperson of the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund Board, Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui Okaru has said Nigeria must create about 1.5 million jobs quarterly to keep the number of unemployed people flat, saying that as a way out, there must be an effective collaboration between government and the private sector.
Delivering her keynote address at the first Stakeholders’ Summit of the Lagos State Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employmenton Thursday, said emphasis should be placed more on skills acquisitions and institutional frame work in tackling unemployment.
She assured participants at the event that the ETF board members would leverage on the empowerment fund and create more robust opportunity for jobs. She advocated for order and discipline in the society, saying, ” such would also go a long way in creating job opportunities.”
The state Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode described his administration’s policy on wealth creation as a multi directional initiative involving the establishment of the ETF as well as requiring significant private sector contributions targeted at reducing unemployment.
He said the investment of N25 billion Employment Trust Fund (ETF) for wealth creation purposes would not yield the expected outcome if other complimentary efforts like right attitudes to employment issues like employability of job seekers are not addressed.
Emphasising on the theme of the summit, ‘Strengthening Partnership for Employment Opportunities and Wealth Creation in a Competitive Environment’, Ambode said government had the responsibility to drive wealth creation processes through business-friendly policies and incentives, adding that relevant stakeholders must be carried along in an inclusive manner which is the true essence his administration was irrevocably committed.
Represented by his deputy, Dr. Idiat Adebule, he said, “Lagos has identified wealth creation path as a direction for economic growth through offering needed support to the establishment and growth of small businesses to create job opportunities and generate wealth for collective prosperity of residents of the state.”
He maintained that the present economic situation in the country presented opportunity to explore other areas of economic development that would reduce the adverse effect occasioned by the dwindling crude oil revenue.
While urging participants at the summit to come up with ideas and suggestion that would add value to the strategy guiding the design and implementation of sustainable programmes for harnessing the opportunities for job and wealth creation, the governor assured that his administration would favourably consider the recommendations from stakeholders.
The Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Hon. Durosinmi Etti said the outcome of the summit would be a plan of action between government and the private sector and would assist government in creating the needed atmosphere for employers of labour to excel.
According to him, “the summit is designed as an avenue for all stakeholders to bring up ideas and suggestions that will add value to the strategies guiding the design and implementation sustainable programmes for harnessing the opportunity for job wealth creation.”
Emphasising on other efforts of the state government, Durosinmi-Etti said, “three Job registration/labour exchange centres have been established in Badagry, Lagos and Ikorodu divisions. The centres are fully operational. In the next two months, we expect the Ikeja and Epe divisional centres to come on stream.”
In his goodwill message, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo commended Governor Ambode on the investment of the state governor in infrastructure and security of lives and properties across the state while describing them as the needed ingredients for meaningful and sustainable wealth creation.
The Vice President, who was represented by the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu, believed that economic activities only thrived in a secured atmosphere adding that Governor Ambode had already demonstrated this through the creation of an enabling environment for SMEs to thrive.