The State Government has given assurance that the N25B Empowerment
Trust Fund would be accessible by every qualified Lagosian who has
convincing business ideas and innovations irrespective of status,
locations, beliefs or political affiliations.
Speaking in an interview session with newsmen, the State Commissioner
for Wealth Creation and Employment, Hon. Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti
explained that the decision to inject the fund is to grant soft loans
to young entrepreneurs within the next four years with the interest
rate of about one per cent administrative charges which is considered
among the lowest in the country and the whole of West Africa.
He 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 affirmed 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” the Commissioner explained.
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 will be
the cynosure of all eyes in eradication of unemployment.