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Jobs: We’ve Shifted Focus To Skills, Entrepreneurship To Empower Unwaged Youths’ — Sanwo-Olu 

The need to create sustainable economic opportunities for the swelling population of young people in Lagos State has restructured the State Government’s intervention in the job creation sector.

The new drive, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu revealed, is doubling the State’s investment in skill development and entrepreneurship to generate more jobs opportunities and raise productivity. 

Sanwo-Olu believed the trend of uncontrolled migration of young people to the city required adequate resources allocation to create employment opportunities for the growing demographic, leveraging entrepreneurship and skill acquisition programmes.

The Governor spoke before a gathering of partners and stakeholders in job creation sector at the third Employment Summit organised by the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF). The event with the theme: “Job Creation – Uniting for Impact: Create, Collaborate Change”, was held at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island.

Sanwo-Olu said the State had been repurposing its intervention to empower young people with viable skills and support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) for expansion in order to create job opportunities for unemployed people.

He said: “As a Government, we have activated a model that will enable us create a resilient environment where we can continuously roll out interventions that will catalyse job creation and entrepreneurial activities. Between 2035 and 2050, the number of youths in employment bracket will grow rapidly and we need to plan for them from today. The statistics are real. We need to be able to ensure we can create opportunities that will make life meaningful for them at the time. 

“It is only when we collaborate and work with LSETF to equip able young men with modern skills to get jobs that will meet today’s demands and also be useful in the future. The State Government is ready to double the financial support given to entrepreneurs and MSMEs to get twice the results of what we are currently getting. We will expect our partners on this project to also consider doubling their support towards meeting the goals.”

Sanwo-Olu said LSETF had stabilised its operations and scaled up performance over the last eight years, but stressed that the agency must focus on job data gathering and analysis in order to have a reliable employment data that would help the State and partners allocate their investment. 

The data, the Governor said, would be useful to properly understand the trend of work and skills required to meet today’s needs and prepare for the future.

He said: “Lagos has made significant strides in improving the employment landscape. Our unemployment rate has seen significant positive change, thanks to various initiatives and policies aimed at creating jobs and empowering our youth. As we move forward, it is imperative that we continue to unite our efforts. 

“I call on all stakeholders, including government agencies, the private sector, civil society and international partners, to join hands with us in this mission. Together, we can create more opportunities, foster greater collaboration, and drive the transformative change that Lagos needs.”

Acting LSETF Executive Secretary, Mrs. Feyisayo Alayande, said Lagos had continued to respond proactively to the dynamic challenges of unemployment and unemployability, pointing out that the agency’s financial support for small businesses had resulted to creation of 221,172 direct and indirect employment.

Alayande added that LSETF’s interventions had saved 204,000 direct jobs, while impacting over 500,000 businesses through loans support to MSMEs.

“Through partnerships with USADF, UNDP and GIZ, we have also trained 18,998 youths in Lagos in various sectors, including creative, hospitality, construction, renewable energy, services, and business support; 65 per cent of the beneficiaries have been successfully placed on jobs and further added to the new tax-payer brackets of the State,” she said.

Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Hon. Akinyemi Ajigbotafe, said the event’s team spoke to the collective responsibility required to bring change in the employment market. 

Ajigbotafe said the Government could not alone bear the burden of creating jobs and employment opportunities for the unemployed, stressing that the action required partnership with the private sector.

LSETF Board Chairperson, Mrs. Bola Akinsola, said the demand for gainful employment was now more pressing than ever, stressing that the collaborative approach adopted by the agency was imperative to sustain job creation.

“As Lagos economy evolves, so also is aspiration of the youth craving for decent employment. The demand for gainful employment is more pressing now than ever before. We need to create more jobs faster than the demand for them. As stakeholders, it is incumbent on us to forge a unified path towards prosperous future,” Adesola said.

Chairman of FATE Foundation, Mr. Fola Adeola, who delivered the keynote speech, said the large youth demographic in the country should be a growth dividend for Lagos, stressing that the population of unemployed youths may continue to be a burden on the country if there was no strategic action taken to create job opportunities for them.

The highpoint of the event was the launch of Labour Market Information System by Sanwo-Olu. The platform would provide up-to-date information to individuals and institutions seeking data about employment within the State.

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