LSETF Seeks Funding Partners to Combat Unemployment

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In line with its quest for sustenance of its operations and to ensure its programmes reach more unemployed youths, the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), an initiative of the Lagos state government, has launched a funding partnership programme targetted at high net worth individuals, private organisations, donor agencies, non-governmental agencies, and international development organisations.

The Fund, which already has N25 billion commitment from the Lagos state government, said in a statement at the weekend that it plans to double the figure through the funding partnership arrangement as it seeks to expand its operations to benefit more businesses and people in the state.

The LSETF, which is backed by the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund Law 2016, has a strategic target to create and sustain 300,000 direct and up to 600,000 indirect jobs by 2019, provide loans to at least 100,000 MSME by 2019.

 Commenting on the call for partnership, LSETF’s Executive Secretary, Mr. Akin Oyebode cited a National Bureau of Statistics report, which showed that 35 per cent of Nigeria’s productive population are either unemployed or underemployed.

He added: “This is especially worrisome when the youth, have an unemployment/underemployment rate of over 50 per cent. This means one of every two persons under the age of 35, are unable to access sustainable employment.

“The LSETF has been working to combat the employment scourge in the state through its various programmes; such as its single-digit interest bearing (5%) loan schemes to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) fund their growth and consequently create job opportunities for the people of Lagos state.

“In addition, youth who have completed vocational trainings can also access loans in the micro business start-up program to help them start their own small businesses, whilst the unemployed can get training and subsequent job placements opportunities.” 

 However, to ensure the LSETF creates as many jobs as possible, the statement said the Fund would require additional funding from individuals, private organisations, donor agencies and other partners.

It revealed that the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) had already set the ball rolling in this direction by entering into a $4 million partnership with the LSETF to provide support to its Employability Program. 

The agreement, which was signed in May 2017 will see the UNDP and LSETF commit substantial financial and technical resources to the Lagos State Employability Support Project between May 2017 and April 2019. This partnership was aimed at training over 10,000 youth in the state.

The project is expected to improve the quality of vocational training programmes for the manufacturing, health care, construction, entertainment, tourism and hospitality sectors; upgrade training content to make the labour force more competent; strengthen vocational instructor training and improve the capabilities of the participating technical colleges and vocational training centers (VTCs) to plan and manage the training programmes.