The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has urged the federal government to implement policies that will encourage entrepreneurship among Nigerian youths in a bid to reduce the unemployment rate and boost economic development.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 2019 LCCI mentoring programme organised by the Business Education, Services and Training (BEST) unit of LCCI in Lagos, Babatunde Ruwase, president of LCCI, said youth unemployment in Nigeria has become a disturbing social and economic menace, thereby creating an opportunity for entrepreneurship to thrive.
“In Nigeria, youth unemployment rose to 27.9 percent in Q3 2018,” he said.
“The federal and state governments should come up with policies that would inculcate entrepreneurship in the youths to make them employers of labour,” he recommended.
He continued that youths need to be supported by the government, private sectors, investors and other stakeholders in order to turn commercial ideas into marketable businesses.
Speaking on the programme, he said it is one of the LCCI’s corporate social responsibility projects targeted at impacting positively on the business environment, especially among young entrepreneurs.
Michael Olawale-Cole, chairman, board of BEST, disclosed that since the beginning of the programme seven years ago,303 entrepreneurs have benefitted from the it with an additional 60 selected for the 2019 edition.
Olawale-Cole, who doubles as the vice president of LCCI and was represented by Opeyemi Amina, said “developing a business into a successful enterprise is a tough call on many entrepreneurs.”
“LCCI as a leading business advocate took it upon itself to simplify entrepreneurship adventure and continuously mould a business nursery fields that gives soft landing to businesses through its entrepreneurship mentoring programme.”
He advised the beneficiaries of the programme to maximise the available opportunities and leverage on the platform to create a sustainable network that will be beneficial for their businesses. He stated that the beneficiaries will be monitored even after the programme to maintain progress.
Obafela Bank-Olemoh, special adviser to the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos on education, represented by Yetunde Kalesanwo, said it is imperative to equip and train youths to become marketable in the labour market, adding that it will contribute to the development of the state and foster economic growth.
Funke Oloniyo, head, BEST unit, speaking about the programme, mentioned that it spans over eight months from April to November and that the LCCI hopes to increase the number of beneficiaries from 65 to 1,000 annually with aid of private organisations and the government.
Adetoro Eko, one of the beneficiaries from the 2016 edition, said the programme is a platform aimed at making businesses thrive and advised the present beneficiaries to utilise the opportunity judiciously.