* Onofiok Luke, Speaker, AKHA
The Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, on Thursday, passed into law a bill for a law to create and regulate employment opportunities for indigenes of Akwa Ibom State in corporate organizations operating in the state.
Victor Udofia, the member representing Ikono, was lead sponsor of the bill, with Udo Kerian Akpan (Oruk/Anam), Emmanuel Bassey (Ini) Ime Okon (Ibiono Ibom) Friday Iwok (Abak) Nse Ntuen (Essien Udim) Usoro Akpanusoh (Esit Eket/Ibeno) and Nse Essien of ONNA as co-sponsors.
The law provides, among other things, that every organization doing business in the state with staff strength of not less than 20 persons will be required to ensure that 10 percent of senior staff and 70 percent of junior staff of such companies are youths and indigenes of Akwa Ibom.
The law also recommends the employment and training procedure which will require investors in the state to employ a stipulated percentage of Akwa Ibom youth at various levels of the labour force.
Speaker of the Assembly, Onofiok Luke said during plenary that the law reflects the 6th assembly’s commitment to Governor Udom Emmanuel’s job creation ambition.
Luke said that the increasing young population makes it imperative that government takes more definitive steps towards the integration of the youth in the economy.
He said: “government needs to create avenues first, for the employability of young people through good education and skills impartation. Secondly, the public and private sector must architect ways to support entrepreneurship; and lastly, jobs must be created and job marketplace must be regulated in such a way that they amply accommodate the youth.
“I believe that the state government has done greatly in implementing its job creation agenda as seen in programmes such as the Akwa Ibom Employment and Enterprise Scheme, AKEES. The Akwa Ibom state job creation and enforcement law does not only reflect our collective support for His Excellency’s job creation ambition.
“The law will promote a culture of local ownership and participation in all aspects of the state’s productive economic activities.
“Let me restate for the benefit of our constituents that when signed by the Governor, His Excellency Mr Udom Emmanuel, this law will position our youths and women to be firsthand beneficiaries of existing and prospective job opportunities in our state.
“It will integrate our youth and women adequately into domestic market and prepare them for foreign opportunities through training in technologies and managerial skills.
“The law will promote peace and a sense of local ownership while ultimately discouraging youth restiveness especially those often emanating from host communities.”
Speaker Luke reiterated the assembly’s commitment to make laws which will further the “building of an Akwa Ibom project which is nothing short of an educated, united, healthy, and prosperous state under one leadership and under one God.”
He hinted that anytime soon, the 6th assembly will pass the youth development fund bill which is a private member bill initiated by the Youth Alive Foundation.
He said the bill will be passed following a synergy between the initiators of the bill and the state executive since the proposed law has a financial proposal.
“We will only pass a bill that will get the assent of the governor while accommodating all interests of the youths at large as well as the initiators of the bill.”
The speaker expressed gratitude to stakeholders and development experts whose inputs he said were resourceful for the drafting of the final report on the bill.
Lead sponsor of the bill, Victor Udofia, told journalists shortly after the passage of the bill that he was motivated to come up with the Akwa Ibom state job enforcement following increasing marginalisation of indigenes by corporate organizations operating in the state.
He said the law “will give the newly created state Ministry of Labour and Productivity the power to exercise their statutory functions especially considering that there are many companies which are not complying with the local content law.”
The Akwa Ibom State Job Creation (Enforcement) Law takes effect from 7th June, 2018.