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Sanwo-Olu raises Lagos Employment Trust Fund support by 100 percent

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Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Thursday, announced a 100 per cent increment in capital subvention to the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF).

The Governor doubled the agency’s subvention in a move to further increase access to finance for budding entrepreneurs seeking to grow their businesses through soft loans and funding support.

Sanwo-Olu made the announcement at the second edition of Lagos Employment Summit organised by LSETF. The event with the theme: “Sustainable Job Creation Strategies: Collective Action and Prosperity for All”, is being held at Eko Hotels and Suites in Victoria Island.

Stakeholders in the employment generation community, including policymakers and implementation partners, are currently meeting at the two-day summit, which has the objective to foster conversation on sustained job creation partnership and strategies towards enhancing viable pathways and transition from education to employment.

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Sanwo-Olu said the incentive would further strengthen other State Government’s interventions initiated towards empowering and upskilling innovative young people, while also providing support grants for established businesses. With the increased allocation, the Governor said more entrepreneurs would be captured in grant allocations to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), thereby lowering unemployment figures of the State.

He said: “We have seen that LSETF can work and indeed, it is working. We have seen the potential of the agency in sustaining creation of job opportunities for our teeming productive residents. I strongly believe that we can achieve a lot more in bringing down the unemployment rate in Lagos if we entrust the agency with a lot more capital grants to support businesses and innovative people.

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“LSETF has the capacity and has demonstrated it in the last four years. Given the opportunity of increased funding, the agency can double the employment figures. It is only by scaling up the subvention that we can further demonstrate our readiness to reduce the rate of unemployment. I have asked for the agency’s budget size and I have seen what it is. This is a public pronouncement that we are doubling the subvention.

“We are doing this, because the LSEFT management team has given us practical proof of concept that the intervention can boost employment opportunities. In this regard, I make an appeal to our funding and development partners to also double their donations to the agency, because there are more people in the State to be taken out of poverty when they have access to business finance. This way, we would be empowering more people to create wealth and spread prosperity.”

The Governor said his administration, in the last three years, had committed over N10 billion in grant to strengthen LSEFT’s activities, supporting 34,000 MSMEs through the intervention.

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The intervention, the Governor said, was instrumental to the 6.7 per cent drop in the unemployment rate, as recorded by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) before the disruption occasioned by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

He said: “We cannot continue to give COVID-19 as an excuse, because the pandemic is behind us now. We need to think of approaches that will create opportunities for teeming number of our youths in the coming days. Young people are waiting on us and relying on us. It is one of our campaign promises that, LSEFT would come out stronger and better under our leadership. I charge the Board of Trustees and the management team to take this opportunity to push LSEFT further to become a global brand that all of us can truly be proud of.”

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The Governor pledged to incorporate outcomes of the summit into the implementation of the State’s governing agenda.

Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Sam Egube, who put the unemployment rate in Lagos at 37.3 per cent, said the summit was organised with the goal to address employment levels in Lagos, by bridging the gap between job availability and employability in the labor market.

The Commissioner said the stakeholders were gathered to collaborate, design and develop initiatives that would improve and sustain employment outcomes in the State. He disclosed that the State Government would be launching a 25-year job development plan anchored on a thriving economy, human-centric city, modern infrastructure and effective governance.

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“This summit is critical dialogue sessions between different stakeholders for us to evaluate and re-evaluate thoughts and initiatives targeted at better employment outcomes. It will provide avenues for various stakeholders to deliberate on relevant areas on job creation, different aspects of skill development and sustainable growth for decent employment, the connection between our training centers and the emerging job opportunities,” Egube said.

LSETF Executive Secretary, Ms. Teju Abisoye, disclosed that 45 per cent of the skilled labour force in the country was concentrated in Lagos, said participants at the summit would identify new trends and opportunities in diverse sectors and value chains that needed to be prioritised with the right investment.

Reeling out the impacts recorded by the agency in the last five years, Ms. Abisoye said LSETF, through its interventions, had created over 182,000 direct and indirect jobs in Lagos. She added that the agency had saved 50,000 direct jobs through support and business stimulation.

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She said 12,335 young persons were trained in modern skills, 413 tech start-ups supported through soft financing, while 68,582 new tax payers were added into the tax net of the State.

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Elumelu says strong insurance sector foundation for strong Nigeria

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Tony Elumelu, CON, Chairman, Heirs Holdings and United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), giving a keynote address at the recent 60th anniversary of the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) conference, underlined the importance of a vibrant, well capitalised and deep insurance sector to Nigeria’s economy.

“Not least in these testing times, our people need financial security, secure savings and protection against uncertainty. Our industry needs to offer simple, smart products, that give value and deliver. We need an industry that is professional and can catalyse investment in key sectors such as power, infrastructure and housing”.

Elumelu congratulated the NCRIB on its anniversary and the role it has played, joining other prominent guests including Commissioner for Insurance and the President of NCRIB. But he stated there was no room for complacency, with the sector needing to regain trust, stamp down on malpractice and fundamentally evolve its customer proposition to deepen the insurance penetration.

He emphasised the commitment of Heirs Holdings to the insurance industry.

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He said: “Our two insurance companies, Heirs Life Assurance and Heirs Insurance Limited, are both leading democratisation of access to insurance – which is a tool for financial inclusion, employment creation, poverty eradication and female advancement. In a country of two hundred million, we can, should and must be more relevant than we are today. I am an optimist, not a pessimist. I know that times are tough, but together we can, and we will transform our industry, create value, and provide solutions that demonstrate the value of insurance to our people.”

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Reiterating Elumelu’s stance, Mr. Sunday Thomas, Commission for Insurance called for more collaboration and effort in enabling access to insurance, stating that the industry could do more in this prospect.

He said: “It is a fundamental truth that the insurance sector exists for other sectors to thrive. A lot has been achieved, but there is still more work to be done. Until insurance becomes the oxygen that homes and other industries breathe, and a subject that is known to everyone, we have not arrived”.

The President, NCRIB, Barrister Rotimi Edu, appreciated Elumelu for delivering the keynote speech at the event, while making a commitment on behalf of the Council to further deepen insurance penetration in Nigeria.

He said: “The Council is already creating avenues through strategic engagements with notable governmental and non-governmental institutions to deepen the industry in the country”.

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Heirs Insurance and Heirs Life are lead sponsors of the NCRIB 60th Anniversary, alongside investment group United Capital Plc and healthcare management company, Avon HMO, all investee companies of Heirs Holdings, a pan-African investment group, with a portfolio spread across 24 African countries and four continents.

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150 Years: FrieslandCampina Pays Tribute to Member Dairy Farmers

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To mark the end of its 150th anniversary year, FrieslandCampina presents its new short film, A New Day. The film pays tribute to the many generations of dairy farmers who have made FrieslandCampina what it is today; a dynamic, forward-looking dairy cooperative and a global company.

‘A New Day’ tells the story of the next generation of farmers, focused on the future of dairy farming with lots of passion and determination, while adapting to the rapidly changing world.

According to Hein Schumacher, CEO FrieslandCampina: “We are very proud of our farmers and our cooperative heritage. For over 150 years, our member farmers have always managed to adapt to what the market and society demand from them. By actively responding to evolving needs and constantly innovating, they have developed themselves into very innovative farmers.

“I have great admiration for the next generation of farmers, especially in these tense and uncertain times. They are building the future of sustainable dairy farming, with the same commitment and unwavering spirit as the many generations before them. This film is our tribute to all dairy farmers, young and old,” Schumacher said.

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Also commenting, Ben Langat, Managing Director, FrieslandCampina Sub-Saharan Africa said, “The story of our cooperative is a special one. ‘A New Day’ celebrates our farmers who are playing that critical role in bringing better nutrition to the tables of families across Sub-Saharan Africa. FrieslandCampina Sub-Saharan Africa salutes our farm heroes and remains steadfast in our commitment and support to the development and prosperity of our local dairy farmers.”

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The four-minute film tells the story of three young dairy farmers who are on a journey, sometimes literally, as they face dilemmas, make choices and emerge stronger, ready for a new day. The film shows the challenges they are facing in this rapidly changing world. ‘A New Day’ is the sequel to ‘The Story of Milk, produced in 2012, also by corporate cinema agency 1Camera.

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Watch it below.

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Asia’s richest man sees growing isolation for China

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Theheute-

Indian billionaire Gautam Adani says that China “will feel increasingly isolated” and the “foremost champion of globalization” would find it hard to bounce back from a period of economic weakness.

Speaking at a conference in Singapore on Tuesday, Adani said “increasing nationalism, supply chain risk mitigation, and technology restrictions,” as well as resistance to Beijing’s huge Belt and Road initiative, would impact China’s global role.

Asia’s richest man said that “housing and credit risks” in the world’s second largest economy were also “drawing comparisons with what happened to the Japanese economy during the ‘lost decade’ of the 1990s.”

Adani was speaking less than a month after the business mogul became the world’s third richest man, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He is the first Asian to take that spot.

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The founder of the eponymous Adani Group controls companies ranging from ports to power.

While pessimistic about China, Adani remains bullish about his own country, saying that India is “one of the few relatively bright spots from a political, geostrategic, and market perspective.”

He anticipates India to become the world’s third largest economy by 2030, with “the largest consuming middle class the world will ever see.”

Some technology firms looking to reduce their dependence on Chinese manufacturing already see India as an attractive alternative.

On Monday, Apple announced that it has started making its new iPhone 14 in India, as the technology giant looks to diversify its supply chain. While the company manufactures the bulk of its products in China, it has decided to start producing its latest devices in India much earlier than with previous generations.

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Businesses may have to move away from China not just because of its strict Covid restrictions, which have been hurting supply chains for months now, but also because of rising tensions between Washington and Beijing over Taiwan.

The US government ordered two of America’s top chipmakers to stop selling high-performance chips to China earlier this month. And, last week, leaders of America’s biggest banks said they could exit China if it ever attacks Taiwan.

Adani also mentioned the challenges facing the United Kingdom, and countries in the European Union, because of the war in Ukraine and Brexit.

“While I expect all these economies will readjust over time — and bounce back — the friction of the bounce-back looks far harder this time,” he said.

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