Posted by Osteen Oyibode, Asaba | 27 August 2015 | 4,133 times
Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, Wednesday, said his administration’s interest in Small and Medium Scale Enterprises was informed by the belief that Small Scale Enterprises was the best way to tackle youth challenges in the midst of widespread unemployment bedeviling the nation.
Okowa made the disclosure during the flag off of a training programme for one thousand, six hundred and forty-five youths as part of his wealth creation strategies for the people of Delta State.
According to Governor Okowa, more than 90 per cent of businesses in Nigeria employ less than one hundred persons which put them in Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) category, asserting that MSMes was a sector that could get most of Nigerian youths off the street.
The Governor flagged off the training programme at the Songhai-Delta, Amukpe, Sapele Local Government Area of Delta State.
He stated that “by definition, MSMEs are companies that employ less than 250 persons and available statistics indicate that 97% of all businesses in Nigeria employ less than 100 persons and they account for about 50% of Nigeria’s productive workforce and 46.54% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” adding: “While multinational companies and big corporations get all the public attention and acclaim for their capacity to induce foreign investment capital, MSMEs remain the backbone for economic growth and social development in any society.
“Today’s event is an undeniable proof that our administration’s SMART agenda is well and truly on course; it goes without saying that job and wealth creation are the bedrock of the SMART agenda, with YAGEP and STEP as the flagship programmes and other programmes under the Job and Wealth Creation Scheme are Production and Processing Support Programme (PPSP), Development of Agro-Industries, and Extension of Microcredit.”
According to Governor Okowa “all the programmes have been strategically designed, stringently planned and specifically tailored to tackle the problem of youth unemployment and produce lasting and sustainable prosperity across board.”
He congratulated the participants at the orientation course, disclosing that more than seventy thousand persons applied for the empowerment programme.
“While previous programmes sought to prepare people for employment, the Job and Wealth Creation Scheme seeks to produce wealth and job creators; critical differences also exist in the selection and screening process, training approach, management system, and collaboration with the organised private sector,” he said,
He noted that “this scheme is not your typical empowerment programme that is often cash based; it is a wealth and job creation scheme, it is not about skills acquisition; it is about building a knowledge economy and the goal is to equip participants with the technical know-how, vocational/technical skills, values and resources to become self-employed and employers of labour.”
Governor Okowa said the scheme was being executed in phases and the introduction of this scheme has enabled government to develop a database of the unemployed in the state, disclosing that “by the next six months when the next phase begins, we will simply pull out the next set of participants from the database, so, there is opportunity for as many as are qualified to be enlisted in subsequent phases of the scheme.”
The Commissioner for Economic Planning in the state, Hon. Kingsley Emu, had in a welcome address said, the participants’ spirit was high and assured that at the end of the day, they would surpass the governor's expectations.
Also, the Sole Administrator of Songhai-Delta, Dr. Theophilius Okpidi, in an address, thanked Governor Okowa for revamping the centre, adding: “I salute your courage and pray that God will make ways for you and direct your steps towards the actualisation of the job and wealth creation scheme for the benefits of Deltans.”
•Photo shows Gov. Okowa.
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