In an attempt to fulfil the promise of making available a sum of N25 billion for the Employment Trust Fund (ETF) initiative in four years, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State yesterday directed the commissioner for Finance to immediately transfer the sum of N6.25 billion to the fund.
The money, according to the governor, is in fulfilment of his promise last year to commit N6.25 billion every year within the four years of this administration to make a total of N25 billion.
Ambode gave the directive on the transfer of the money at the Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, while inaugurating the board of the ETF, noting that the establishment of the fund marked a turning point in the responsiveness of government to the yearning of the youth and unemployed people.
He described the ETF as an instrument designed to galvanise the creative and innovative energies of all Lagosians, adding that it would only be available to Lagosians and residents of the state.
The governor said members of the ETF board were carefully selected based on their track records of professional integrity and selflessness and therefore charged them to make transparency and accountability their watchwords.
He said, “I urge all Lagosians especially our young entrepreneurs and artisans to embrace this opportunity. The process of accessing the fund must be transparent, and beneficiaries will be chosen only on the strength and quality of their applications. The management of this fund will be guided by global best practices and strict adherence to the rules and procedures spelt out in the law.”
Governor Ambode also said the effectiveness of the initiative would not be measured by the number of beneficiaries but by the number of successful businesses created, the number of employment opportunities offered and the overall multiplier effects on the state’s economy within a reasonable period of time.
The governor, who noted that Lagos deserved nothing short of such initiative as the ETF, charged the chairman and members of the board to hit the ground running and ensure that Lagosians felt their presence immediately.
“Every senatorial zone of the state must feel the positive impact of the fund. The board must ensure that the distribution of the fund is evenly spread across the state,” he said.
Ambode also urged individuals, corporate organisations and multilateral agencies to join his administration in turning around the fortunes of the youths and thereby energise the state, saying such would boost the economy of the nation as a whole.
Also yesterday, Governor Ambode inaugurated the chairman and members of the State Civil Service Commission urging them to discharge their duties with diligence and integrity.
He said the civil service is at the centre of what government did and, in Lagos State, the desire of his administration was to ensure that public service exuded the highest grade of professionalism and selflessness in all ramifications.
He, however, expressed confidence in the ability of the members of the commission to perform.
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