OrderPaperToday – Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode is seeking the approval of the State House of Assembly to implement a N25 billion Employment Trust Fund and reform operations of the State university.

To these end, he has sent two bills to the lawmakers for consideration and passage, according to a statement by the state commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde.

Both bills had earlier been approved by the State Executive Council at its meeting on Wednesday.

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The Employment Trust Fund bill, if passed into law, will stimulate employment creation in the state with N25 billion proposed to be spent over four years as a support scheme for young entrepreneurs and small businesses.

The Lagos State University (Amendment) Bill 2015 among other things, proposes a single term of five years for the Vice-Chancellor of the institution.

The Employment Trust Fund Bill, according to Ayorinde, is in fulfillment of one of the campaign promises of Governor Ambode, which aims to inject N25 billion into job creation and employment opportunities over a period of four years.

The fund, he said, will be administered as soft loans to bonafide residents of the state that desire facilities ranging from N100, 000 to N1,000, 000, or more, as the case may be.

Ayorinde said the bill seeks the establishment of the ETF to be modeled after the state’s Security Trust Fund, which means it will be funded through joint contributions from the Lagos State government and the private sector and will be administered through an independent Trust backed by an efficient structure that will disburse the funds.

The ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment, which was created in June by Governor Ambode, will oversee the affairs of the scheme, while the funds will be channeled through the state’s microfinance institution.

Beneficiaries, he said, would be selected across the five divisions in the state: Ikeja, Badagry, Ikorodu, Lagos Island and Epe in order to allow citizens in every part of the state enjoy the novel scheme.

“Just about 1% interest rate will be charged on the loan to take care of administrative expenses. The state government’s desire is to allow enterprising Lagos residents who do not have access to loans or other forms of finance with stringent conditions enjoy repayable soft loans to establish a business venture or rescue a struggling small concern,” he said.

Ayorinde said the state government was keen about start-up businesses because every beneficiary will be able to employ a few other persons, thereby taking several thousands of people off the streets.

“The aim of this scheme is to give employments to thousands of people through the jobs that will be created by the beneficiaries,” he said.

He added that the state government would also set up Business Support Centres to assist and monitor progress in the beneficiaries’ various businesses.

He said about N6.3bn would be required for the scheme every year and that half of what is needed for its implementation for the first year has already been set aside, thanks to the competent financial management that the state governor has deployed since he assumed office five months ago.

Ayorinde said the LASU (Amendment) Bill 2015 is meant to serve as an improvement over the two previous amendments in 1990 and 1992 with the aim of finding a lasting solution to the challenges that have plagued the state-owned institution in recent years.

According to the Commissioner, the bill “is proposing to amend certain sections of the Law to meet current realities in line with best practices. It seeks to review the exercise of general supervision over discipline in the university imposed on the Vice-Chancellor and to propose a single term of five years for the institution’s Vice-Chancellor.”

He added that the LASU Bill also seeks an amendment that will make the appointment of the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council the prerogative of the Visitor in line with standard practice.

“Yet, it seeks an amendment to Section 36(1) and (2) of the Law which deals with admission policy to place the responsibility of determining the minimum admission requirement on the Senate of the university,” he said.

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