Ondo Unemployment Summit: We’re determined to eradicate poverty, unemployment ― Akeredolu

•Identifies entrepreneurship solution to unemployment, as Awosika, Alajika, others speak

The Ondo State government has reiterated its determination and commitment in tackling unemployment as well as reducing poverty to the barest minimum through many of its programmes designed to tackle the issues which had been yielding tremendous success.

The state governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, who disclosed this during the Inaugural Unemployment Summit held at Akure, the state capital, said the state is determined to push people, especially youths out of poverty and unemployment through entrepreneurship knowledge economy, innovation and technology.

According to the governor, the present administration in the state is ready to invest more in entrepreneurship development and the provision of grants for startups and those badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Akeredolu who stated the introduction of digital revolution and entrepreneurship by his government is not just an agenda but his passion to see that the unemployment rate in the state is reduced, saying the letter ‘D’ in his second term agenda which is simply encapsulated in the acronym ‘REDEEMED’ stands for Digital Revolution and Entrepreneurship.

He explained that the digital revolution and Entrepreneurship is not just an agenda but his passion to see that the unemployment rate in the state is reduced.

The governor frowned at the alarming rate of unemployed youths in the country said that some initiatives were to empower unemployed youths through entrepreneurship knowledge economy and make independent and employers of labour.

Akeredolu said “Unarguably, we have come to the point of deliberating extensively as a State to take actions to tackle this problem of unemployment once and for all.

“We have always been concerned that the only enduring solutions to the unemployment issues are for our youths to embrace entrepreneurial development.

“This type of Summit is not the first in Nigeria, but it is significant because of the peculiarity of the seasons we are in as a country and because we have decided to refer to it as ‘Unemployment Summit’ and not employment summit, as we would rather address the problem first before the solution.

“You will recall that our State had hitherto been known and referred to as a Civil Service State. The little Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) we get is recycled around the public service and our capacity to generate more IGR was limited.

“We observe that keeping the civil service culture, in no time, the state will be in chaos hence the birth of the Ondo State Entrepreneurship Development Agency (ONDEA) for Poverty Eradication, Job Creation and Economic Development,”

The Governor said ONDEA was birthed with the mandate to create a master plan for massive job creation in the State, foster economic growth and engender business knowledge transfer for indigenous based entrepreneurs, MSMEs and job seekers.

He said: “A lot of people might not know the importance now, the fact about entrepreneurship is that it is the engine that creates new jobs and it is a great panacea for economic development.

“We are building the right foundation and it might take some time. Many of these entrepreneurial initiatives have great benefits that are not just for now, but for long after our administration because that is when the narrative of this State would have changed.

“Our people would be more self-driven and self-conscious, and we have started seeing the impact.

“This Agency, within just a year of creation, has trained thousands of people and there has been various empowerment of young people to support them with interest-free loans and grants.”

Some other speakers at the summit include Mrs Ibukun Awosika, Apostle Folorunso Alakija, Pastor (Mrs) Funke Felix-Adejumo and founder of Africa’s Leadership University, Fred Swaniker among others.

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