Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Thursday said his administration will continue to explore various avenues and partnerships to make youths in the state acquire the necessary skills to be gainfully employed as well as become job creators and innovators.
The Governor who spoke when he received the Director General of the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), Mr Olusegun Oshinowo and representatives of various multinational companies at the Lagos House, Ikeja, said youth unemployment is one of the tripod of development on which his administration is committed to tackle headlong, aside security of lives and property and improving social infrastructure.
Welcoming an offer by the NECA to partner the State Government to enhance youth productivity and skill acquisition, Governor Ambode said the rate of unemployed youths in the country could spin negatively if collaborative efforts between government and the Organised Private Sector (OPS) are not geared towards addressing it.
“We also have a situation where we have the resources, but we do not have the institutional framework and what we have done in the last nine months is to try and find a way to create the institutions and then the framework around it.
“You have come with the whole load of institutional framework, so obviously this is a partnership that is made in heaven for the people that are out there. I want to give an official commitment that we have to improve upon this relationship, it’s a partnership that we must commit ourselves to as a government, whatever it is that you have stated here, I want to tell you that you are just fusing into that whole network of how to take out these younger ones from the unemployment market. I want to give you my commitment and you will see also the way we are driving this project, goes to show that we are serious about what we are saying,” he said.
Governor Ambode said with the establishment of the Employment Trust Fund (ETF) and the inauguration of the Board to manage the fund, his administration is fully committed to issues bothering on youth unemployment, just as he directed the Board of the ETF and the Ministry of Wealth Creation to explore the partnership with NECA.
“We have established the Employment Trust Fund with a very good team there and I have passed the N6.2billion for this year to them. Year one is almost going so they need to hit the ground running.
“But because you already have an established framework, we officially direct the ETF and the Ministry of Wealth Creation to quickly start that partnership today because it would take us a huge cycle to start looking for the multinationals and other stakeholders who already have the infrastructure in place,” he said.
He said the long term goal of his administration is to make youths less dependent on white collar jobs and channel their energy on utilizing their skills to become innovators and employers of labour.
“That you are able to offer us this opportunity shows that Lagos is up for prosperity. This has not happened before, where you have eminent collaboration coming from employers and also us from a government.
“In areas of skill acquition, you have so much to offer and the truth is we need to dissipate the energy of our young ones to different things that can enhance their creativity and that way we are better way as older people to live a more comfortable life. On that note I want to say that we are willing as a government to take on your offer that you are giving us, it’s collaboration in the best interest of all of us,” the Governor said.
Earlier, DG of NECA, Mr. Oshinowo said that creating jobs for youths will go a long way to address issues of insecurity, commending the efforts made by the state Government so far, especially the setting up of the Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment.
He said the Association has designed a practical model, which if implemented will go a long way to take youths off the streets and turn them into wage earners and entrepreneurs.
Oshinowo said NECA which has over 3000 major enterprises and businesses cutting across all sectors of the economy, said the association is partnering with the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) to provide the resources to drive the programmes geared towards creating jobs for youths.
Governor Ambode who also received a delegation of Chevron Nigeria Limited led by its Managing Director, Mr. Clay Neff, thanked the group for its corporate social responsibility programmes in the state, saying that his administration will continue to enhance the existing partnership with the government.
He urged the group to key into the vision of his administration to create jobs for youths, especially through exchange programmes, skill acquisition and training programmes, which would see youths become engaged productively.