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Don urges support for informal sector to drive critical economic opportunities

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Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Igbinedion University, Okada (IUO), Prof Deborah Odejimi, has called on government to rejig the country’s economy by engaging corps members on three months skill acquisition training.

Odejimi, who made the call while delivering the 18th inaugural lecture of the university, noted that informal sector is key to developing economies with weak financial capacity and large population like Nigeria.

She suggested soft loans for participants in the compulsory three-month skill acquisition training to start a business, rather than seek non-existing white collar jobs upon completion of national youth service scheme.
 
“The Benin Technical College, Benin City project by Governor Godwin Obaseki launched in 2016 was borne out of the fact that migrants from neighbouring countries were fast becoming trusted hands in tiling, POP ceilings and roofing. Government can sponsor corps members to such institutions for hands-on technical training in various departments,” Odejimi stated.

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The professor of finance and development economics said government could operate in collaboration with banks using agent-banking platform to get businesses registered not only for the purpose of taxation but also for the purpose of growing the business by providing financial support in the form of soft loans. 

Noting that provision of infrastructure would ease micro and small-scale businesses, Odejimi said in developed countries, 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 life saver 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, and food processing, among several others. Nigerians are anxious to see that day when power supply would be constant and affordable. That would be a major game changer for the growth of the economy. “

She advocated a policy to reduce unemployment in the country, noting that the informal sector plays a significant role in job creation and employment. 
Vice Chancellor, Prof Lawrence Ezemonye, described the presentation as apt and one that would remain indelible in the economic development and growth of the country.

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