To reduce unemployment in Nigeria, an advocacy group, Employment Clinic on Tuesday organised a stakeholders meeting where government agencies and private investors operating in the nations maritime industry brainstormed with thousands of unemployed youths to see how 1 million job openings can be generated.
Speaking during the programme which had indigenous Shipowners, Chairmen of local governments in Lagos State in attendance, the Chief Executive Officer of Employment Clinic, Ronke Kosoko explained that if Apapa infrastructural deficit is fixed, it will boost employment opportunities in the seaport town of Apapa.
According to Ronke Kosoko, “When we say we want to create employment in one year, we need to understand that those jobs are actually there which all of us have been talking about in the last one decade.
“The ignition that is needed left and right is the strategic efforts by government at all levels, Federal, State and across the littoral states that are going to spiral employment opportunities like I said. So it is not us as an individual that is going to provide the jobs, it is a consortium of private sector working with the government where necessary.
“We are in the maritime industry and we have been talking for decades on these issue. Once the Minister’s and the maritime Ceo’s deliver powerful speeches, it ends there. Now, what we are doing is an action point. Certain things are over due for implementation. The government agencies need to do the right thing at the right time and these jobs will come out on their own.
“We are also looking at giving the necessary skills to the young people, that is why we are unveiling our maritime conversion program today. That is what that program is meant to take care of.
“I’m not the first person to talk about jobs. Even before I came in, there are many people talking about these jobs. But what are the things that needed to be done? If you fix infrastructure deficit in Apapa for instance and you are running a 24 hours economy that runs 48 hours cargo clearance, these jobs will come out on their own. Don’t you think Lagos can take the lead in running a 24 hours economy where some people will go to work and come back by 4pm and another set resume by 4pm till 5am the next day?
“Apapa used to be like that; where young people will come out from biscuits factories and go to work snd earn certain stipends and where mothers will come out in the night and start cooking because the port is running 24/7.
“We are holding the people in high place responsible. With our organisation, through our maritime conversion programs, our own is to equip the young people with the right skills particularly those in the non-technical sector. “We are hoping once government changes in few months, certain things will happen.”
Also speaking during the programme, founding President of the Indigenous Shipowners Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Chief Isaac Jilapamo explained that achieving one milllions jobs from non seafaring opportunities in tbe maritime industry is achievable.
In the words of the ISAN founding father, “One million jobs being created from non-seafaring opportunities is achievable. These are shore-based people who have nothing to do in running ships.
“Of course, one million jobs is more than doable because if you remember those days, we talked of five millions jobs in the maritime industry.
“I can easily say yes, what we are gunning for today is doable in a very short period because this may not involve the politics that is associated with training of seafarers.
“We have to co-opt the maritime players but of course, they also have their own limitations with the current trends in the maritime industry. But I’m beginning to see a ray of hope coming very shortly