Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Igbinedion University Okada (IUO), Prof Deborah Omotsefe Odejimi on Friday called on the government to rejig the country’s economy by engaging corp members on compulsory three months training on skill acquisition in the National Youth Service Programme.
Odejimi made the call while delivering the 18th inaugural lecture of Igbinedion University Okada (IUO),titled “They may be small but hold the Ace for Economic Growth: The relevance of the informal sector in Nigeria.”
Odejimi advocated for soft loans or grants for the participants in the compulsory three months training on skill acquisition to start a business rather than seek non-existence white-collar jobs upon successful completion of the National Youth Service Programme.
“The Benin Technical College, Benin City project by Governor Godwin Obaseki launched in 2016 was born out of the fact that migrants from neighbouring countries were fast becoming the trusted hands in tiling, POP ceilings, roofing.
“Government can sponsor corp members to such institution for hands-on technical training in the various departments.”
The Professor of finance and development economics said the government can operate in collaboration with banks using the agent banking platform to get businesses registered not solely for the purpose of taxation but more importantly for the purpose of growing the business by providing financial support in the form of soft loans.
Noting that provision of infrastructure facilities like power, good roads, water will ease and facilitate micro and small-scale businesses, Odejimi said in developed countries, the percentage of workers especially migrants and undocumented persons in the informal sector is rising and their contribution increasingly indispensable.
“For developing economies like Nigeria with weak financial capacity and large population, the informal sector is a lifesaver as it provides critical economic opportunities for the poor, unemployed and the underemployed.
“Electricity requirements are huge in areas such as hairdressing, tailoring, welding, printing, food processing amongst several others. Nigerians are anxious to see that day when the power supply would be constant and affordable. That would be a major game-changer for the growth of the economy.
She advocated for policy to reduce unemployment in the country stressing that empirical evidence has shown that the informal sector, dominating with over 70 per cent is a powerful and relevant sector whose activities and operations both in developed and developing countries play a significant role in job creation and employment.
Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Prof Lawrence Ezemonye expressed appreciation to the lecturer for the knowledge impacted, describing the presentation as apt and one that will remain indelible in the economic development and growth of the country.