Ambode unfolds manifesto, plans N25bn jobs fund, others

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, has unveiled an economic and developmental blueprint in which he intends to set up a fund to help in drastically reducing joblessness.

It is to be known as “Lagos Employment Trust Fund (LETF)” with N25billion to create access to funds by entrepreneurs in the next four years.

A minimum of N1billion will be accessed annually by each of the state’s five divisions, namely Ikorodu, Badagry, Ikeja, Lagos and Epe, he said.

Ambode said his administration would protect the growth of small and medium scale enterprises by providing tax incentives.

The former Permanent Secretary and Accountant-General, stated in his manifesto that he would implement policies to encourage the private sector to employ more citizens and foster economic development.

His also plans to boost job creation through agriculture. “We will also promote other agricultural value-chain such as rice processing to produce over 100,000 tonne per annum, with the overall goal of commencing agro-processing business in Lagos and expand fish production to ensure 100 per cent self-sufficiency in the first two years and export in the last two years,” Ambode said.

The government under him will launch ‘Project T.H.E.S.E,’ a systematic integration of ‘Tourism, Hospitality, Entertainment/Arts, Sports for Excellence’, which he said “will enable the state to explore, execute and enshrine a new vista of jobs for our youths, our women and vocational artisans.”

His administration will also encourage the creation of a Corporate Social Responsibility Trust Fund (CSR-TF) by the private sector, to be managed by a Board of Trustees charged with the responsibility of identifying growth opportunities yearly and financing such opportunities to further boost economic development across sectors and communities.

He will also equally establish a Small Business Loan Guarantee Scheme and ensure the removal of all multiple taxes/fees from the state’s tax codes as a matter of urgency.

He will develop a Youth Employment Agenda (YEA), which will offer the youth an opportunity to kick-start their careers with apprenticeships in the government.

The opportunity, he believes, will provide youth with paid employments, work experience and skill development that will lead to ongoing employment.

Ambode said his administration would improve on the flagship primary Health Care Programme to increase the number and quality of Public Health Centres (PHCs) that can offer non-stop services, thereby ensuring zero tolerance for all communicable diseases in Lagos.

He will harmonise private and public sector collaboration in secondary health care, establish medic-parks and bio-parks in collaboration with relevant stakeholders to stave off huge capital flight arising from medical expenses abroad, reduce doctor-patient ratio and support health institutions with more equipment and infrastructure.

“We will introduce free medical care for our children from birth to age six. Healthcare will also be free for pregnant women, including both pre-natal and ante-natal care, while our senior citizens will also enjoy free healthcare from sixty-five years onwards.

“We will improve on the quality of Primary Healthcare system and make it more accessible, thereby reducing the overdependence on our general hospitals. We will activate emergency services in all our hospitals,” he said.

Ambode plans to expand the Lagos Home Ownership Mortgage Scheme (HOMS) to target more people in the areas of need and affordability, thus using alternative technologies that reduce the cost of housing delivery in the State.

His administration, he said, will also pursue urban renewal schemes to reduce the menace of slums and enforce housing control laws and other regulations that will make the state attractive for everyone to live in, he said.

“We will create communities that are self sustainable for residents that will encourage even development across the state. This will allow for easy access and reduce congestion at the city centers.

“We will provide affordable housing schemes by collaborating through Public Private Partnerships (PPP)to increase the available housing stock,” he promised.

On road infrastructure, Ambode said the 29 bridges in Lagos are inadequate. Seven of them, he said, need expansion.

He stated that “We shall ensure that rural areas enjoy the same standard of roads/bridge network with the urban centres and build pedestrian bridges.

“We shall pursue a fully integrated transport management system that takes into consideration: roads (pursue the mono-rail alternative as a means of mobility for the movement of our people in the sub-urban areas and commit to the completion of the on-going Blue-Line (CMS-Okokomaiko while ensuring the delivery of the red line (Ikeja-Agbado); air (commit to the Lekki Airport project to reduce flight related congestion, stimulate commerce by establishing new real estates, businesses and tourism hubs in the axis) and water (advance public waterways transportation including provision of appropriate dredging and route management, security and rescue team to open the water corridor for advertising and investors).”

Ambode said he would continue the current schools renovation program state-wide, establish the IBILE meal scheme in all public schools; pay bursary and introduce scholarship in vocational and technical colleges.

“We will provide free education up to senior secondary school level to ensure that no child is denied their right to education, and endeavor to provide one meal per day to students to guarantee a healthy learning environment.

“Along with our bursary and scholarship initiatives for tertiary institutions, we will encourage the private sector to partner with government in this regard as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility. We will also deepen skills acquisition through technical and vocational training to create capacity for our informal sector,” he vowed.

Ambode’s vision is to make Lagos a clean, secure, more prosperous state with a robust economy built on service, equity and justice.

“I declare my readiness to serve the State and its people as Governor, with courage, forthrightness, clarity of purpose, integrity and dedication.

“I hope to continue in the great strides of our indelible compatriots, such as Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Mobolaji Johnson, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) whose courageous, visionary and remarkable leadership lay a solid foundation for Lagos State and continue to inspire us all to make even better,” Ambode said.

Among others, he has a mission to prioritize economic growth and development for all; where everyone has equal access to jobs, regardless of sex, gender, religion, age or physical conditions.

His administration, he said, would be anchored on rule of law. “We will ensure that all our ministries, agencies and parastatals uphold the rule of law, by rendering services in accordance with laid down rules and procedures, to guarantee the protection of the rights of all citizens.

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