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Okowa to inaugurate 1,345 trainee entrepreneurs




GOVERNOR Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State is to officially inaugurate the job and wealth creation scheme of the state government tomorrow, barely two months after its flag-off.

Meanwhile, a Niger Delta activist and Igba of Warri, Chief Mrs. Rita Lori-Ogbebor has called for the repeal of the law establishing the state’s Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC), saying the agency has become “an avenue to loot the state resources.”

Billed for Songhai-Delta in Amukpe, the event will witness orientation for 1,345 trainee entrepreneurs drawn from the 25 local councils of the state for the Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP) and Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP).

The governor, had at the unveiling of the scheme, assured of his administration’s determination to deliver prosperity to the state.

“My administration has created S.M.A.R.T agenda and it is on that ground that we are launching this job creation scheme. This has been put in place in order to create jobs and wealth, diversify the economy, engage youths in productive enterprises, nurture entrepreneurs and leaders as well as promote communal peace and security. The scheme also features other programmes, including the Production and Processing Support Programme (PPSP), Development of Agro-industries and Microcredit,” he had stated.

The state’s Chief Job Creation Officer, Prof. Eric Eboh, while reiterating the zeal to tackle unemployment, disclosed that the participants would further undergo apprenticeship training and internship in their chosen fields, climaxing with an intensive course on entrepreneurship and business management at Songhai-Delta after which the graduands would be given starter packs to start off their businesses.

“There will be a training module for the one-week orientation programme which will address personal effectiveness, leadership and problem-solving to give participants the requisite skills and mind-set essential for them to become successful entrepreneurs.

“The curriculum has been designed to expose participants to both theoretical instruction and hands-on experience in existing enterprises. Training is based on standard fit-for-purpose modules for the enterprise or trade and the overall strategy of the scheme is to equip unemployed youths with the technical know-how, vocational skills, values and resources to become self-employed and employers of labour,” Eboh stated.

According to him, the training will last for three to six months, adding that a monitoring and mentoring mechanism had been incorporated into the scheme to track performance and provide counselling when necessary.

He clarified that the monitoring was ICT-based information transmission, tracking and reporting technologies.

Eboh advised those who were not included in the first phase of the programme to be patient, saying that they will participate in subsequent phases.

Lori-Ogbebor, who made the call yesterday in Lagos, said the agency had not in any way catered for the welfare of the people, which its establishment was meant to address.

“I come from the oil producing region of the country. The region that generates more than 70 per cent of the national income yet my people are in abject poverty because the state government from 1999 till date never bother about their welfare.”

She said she made same call to former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan “but to no avail.”

“We begged Uduaghan to do the right thing by changing the law of DESOPADEC which gave the states 50 per cent derivation fund and allocated 50 per cent of the fund to the oil producing areas for which the fund was created. He promised to do something but he left office with a controversial bill. Governor Okowwa worked against that bill. At the same time, he put up a bill that was passed in a rush without letting the people in the riverine area and villages know what he was talking about,” she stated.

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