The Presidential Jobs Board has said it is drafting a National Jobs Bill aimed at fast-tracking government’s target of creating two million jobs for Nigerians yearly.
The Minister of Trade and Investments, Olusegun Aganga, disclosed this to journalists at the Presidential Villa after the meeting of the Board which is chaired by Vice-President Namadi Sambo,
He said wide consultations were already ongoing to fine-tune the draft bill before it is forwarded to the National Assembly for passage into law.
Mr. Aganga said about 1.4 million jobs are presently being created every year but that the Board is mindful of President Jonathan’s marching orders to the Board to work with the private sector to make available minimum of two million jobs to Nigerians annually.
In line with this, the Board, during the meeting, brought to the attention of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria the various employment incentives put in place since 2010 for private
Mr. Aganga said the meeting concluded that there were adequate incentives available to assist the private sector employers but that there was need to create more awareness for them, and even for Nigerian job seekers, many of who don’t know how to go about getting the available jobs.
“The second area of discussion was the area of incentives, whether we have incentives in place and whether there are adequate. It was interesting and the conclusion of the board this afternoon is that all these incentives were out in place by this administration right from 2010. And that those incentives are actually very adequate and the best if you compare it with other countries.
“So it is not a matter of the incentives but a matter of raising the awareness. It was surprising that through the trade associations including the President of MAN, who is here today, that MAN and NACCIMA members, MSMEs, most Organisations are not fully aware of these incentives.
“So the action point is to publicize this. So we have the employment tax incentive where you employ at least 10 employees and six out of the 10 remain employed in three years, you get the tax incentive of about five per cent of your accessible profit for that period.
“There is incentive for work experience acquisition Programme and then local raw material utilization where you get 30 per cent tax concession for five years, to industries that attain minimum local raw materials utilization. That is far more important today than it was many years ago.
“So for example if your local content in the area of Agro is about 80 per cent or petrochemical is about 70 per cent, Agro allied 70 per cent, engineering 65 per cent, chemical 60 per cent, you get this 30 per cent tax incentives.
“Of course there is a labour intensive mood of production where you get 50 per cent tax concession for five years. So the next step is to make sure we publicize these. These are on the website of NIPC but we are going to put it on all the websites of all the ministries and make sure we publicize these over the next few months,” he said.
The minister further disclosed that the federal government is also setting up public job centres in all the state capitals through which job seekers could be adequately informed of opportunities.
“There are many Nigerians looking for jobs but don’t know where to go to, so what we have done is to create job centres in the capital of each state. And also the system what we call the job exchange, where people looking for jobs, can go and put in their details and those who want to employ can also give their details. It’s a one-stop area where, based on skills mapping and where there are gaps, we arrange for counselling, for training and others to make the, ready for the job market,” he said.
Besides, the Vice President is scheduled to chair a series of special meetings of the Board which will focus on monitoring the accessibility and use of the N220 billion grants made available to commercial banks for onward lending to small and medium enterprises.
Government has reduced the interest rate to the banks from three to two per cent and expects them to consequently lower the onward lending interest rate to the SMEs from nine per cent, Mr. Aganga added.
“There are many Nigerians looking for jobs but don’t know where to go to, so what we have done is to create job centres in the capital of each state. And also the system what we call the job exchange, where people looking for jobs, can go and put in their details and those who want to employ can also give their details. Is a one stop area where based on skills mapping and where there are gaps, we arrange for counselling, for training and others to make the, ready for the job market,” he said.