In an unwavering effort to combat the escalating issue of unemployment in Nigeria, the Ogun State Government has orchestrated a groundbreaking two-day Employment Conference, with a resolute call to all stakeholders to unite in the battle against this grave menace.
This inaugural conference, a collaborative effort with the Government of Germany through the Germany Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), bears the resounding theme, “Addressing Unemployment and Job Creation in Ogun State: Tapping into Local and Global Opportunities.”
The event was inaugurated with great zeal in the vibrant city of Abeokuta by Governor Prince Dapo Abiodun. This initiative has been crafted to confront the daunting challenge posed by unemployment and underemployment that currently plagues the country.
Although Governor Abiodun was regrettably unable to attend in person, his presence was felt through his Deputy, Engr. Noimot Salako-Oyedele, who led an assembly of top government officials, including the Chief Economic Adviser to the Governor, Mr. Dapo Okubadejo, Special Adviser to the Governor on Finance, Mr. Olaolu Olabimtan, and Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Science, and Technology, Professor Abayomi Arigbabu, among several other dignitaries.
During the conference, Governor Abiodun passionately conveyed that the chosen theme is an unequivocal clarion call to all stakeholders to diligently scrutinize the root causes of unemployment.
The conference’s mandate is to develop concrete action steps, craft recommendations, and establish robust strategies to ameliorate unemployment in Ogun State, aiming for the lowest possible levels in both the short and long term.
The Governor astutely highlighted the interconnectedness of economic development, illiteracy, unemployment, and insecurity.
He elucidated how the current administration has launched numerous initiatives to bolster the local economy and empower the state’s youth population.
The Governor underscored his administration’s “I-S-E-Y-A” mantra, which stands as an acronym for various initiatives aimed at eradicating poverty and misery in the state while concurrently creating abundant employment opportunities.
He specifically mentioned the establishment of the Ogun State Bureau of Job Creation and the subsequent launch of the Ogun Jobs portal as exemplary initiatives that have effectively curbed rising unemployment and improved the prospects of existing employees and business owners.
Furthermore, he extolled the creation of the Ogun State Enterprise Development Agency, overseen by the State Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment, which provides comprehensive support services for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to prosper.
The agency aims to unite MSME operators in pursuit of common goals for the development of these enterprises in the state. Additionally, the newly formed Ogun Airport City has the potential to provide gainful employment for no less than 30,000 youths.
In her remarks, Dr. Olu. Ola. Aikulola, Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) for the conference and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment, emphasized the alarming jobless rate, with a staggering 33.3 percent overall and over 54 percent among the youth demographic.
She fervently urged informal youth groups, undergraduates, Youth Corps Members, and budding entrepreneurs to capitalize on the opportunities presented at the conference as a means to embrace new innovations to tackle the unemployment crisis in Nigeria.
Aikulola underlined the crucial importance of an associated job fair, planned to take place in the first quarter of 2024, as a benchmark to measure the conference’s success.
In a resonant conclusion, Dr. Detlef Barth, Team Lead for GIZ, recognized the critical timing of the conference.
He pointed out the necessity of delving deep into the current realities of employment and job creation in Ogun State, especially in the context of evolving work dynamics, which bring both challenges and opportunities to employment promotion.
This conference signifies a robust commitment by the Ogun State Government, in partnership with GIZ, to tackle the grave issue of unemployment head-on, striving to pave the way for a brighter, more prosperous future for the state’s youth and, indeed, the entire nation.
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