• Sunday, May 26, 2024
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Delta makes concrete moves for job creation programme to outlive Okowa’s tenure

CJWCO, Prof Eric Eboh, being screen at Plenary by Hon Members of Delta State House of Assembly, Asaba

The major fear of stakeholders in the Delta State Job and Wealth Creation sector has been the sustainability of the programmes beyond the tenure of the initiator and visioner, Ifeanyi Okowa who is the incumbent governor of the state.

The fear seems to be addressed as the Job and Wealth Creation Office has changed to Delta State Job and Wealth Creation Bureau, fully backed by law.

The Job and Wealth Creation Programme is seen as the cornerstone of Okowa’s administration’s policies and programmes.

The strategic thrust has been entrepreneurship development programmes anchored on skills training, engaging youths in productive enterprises, nurturing entrepreneurs, leaders and promoting communal peace and security.

Prior to the 2019/2020 cycle, what used to be called Delta Job and Wealth Creation Office, became the Delta State Job and Wealth Creation Bureau following the passage of law in favour of the bureau on August 22, 2019, by the state’s House of Assembly.

“In the last five years, the Special Purpose Vehicle for driving this policy initiative had been the office of the Chief Job Creation. A significant development of the 2020 fiscal year was the passing of the bill by the state House of Assembly transforming the office from an administrative creation to a body corporate as enshrined in the enabling law, for continuity and sustainability. The bureau is to be headed by the Chief Job and Wealth Creation Officer”, Okowa said as he presented the 2021 budget on Tuesday, October 27.

On October 22 this year, the house had approved the regularisation of the reappointment of Eric Eboh, a professor, as the Chief Job Creation Officer of the state effective from August 26, 2019.

Eboh, who had manned the office throughout Okowa’s first tenure (2015-2019), had been reappointed by the governor. Following the house’s approval of the governor’s request for the regularisation of his reappointment, the professor will continue to head the bureau till the year 2023 when Okowa rounds off his second tenure.

Eboh, who has continued to receive commendations from stakeholders for a job well done in the past five years, also got a pat on the back by the leguslators as they enjoined him to continue to work to consolidate on the SMART Agenda vision.

Now, in the state’s 2021 budget of N378 billion presented to the assembly on Tuesday, October 27, the governor proposed a sum of N1 billion for the bureau and Eboh is expected to work with this amount, if the budget is approved by the house, to deliver on the mandate of the bureau in raising job and wealth creators to help in the economic diversification of the state as it enters the sixth year.

“Mr Speaker, as you are no doubt aware, one of the core mandates of this administration is to build a knowledge economy anchored on skills acquisition. To this end, government shall sustain the provision of training opportunities, internship schemes and subsidies for young people to be job and wealth creators”, Okowa told the legislators.

One of the areas government has shown strong resolve in human capital development is in the development of the capacities of woman and the girl-child. Girl-child empowerment is the process of uplifting the economic and social status of traditionally under-privileged girls in a male-dominated social construct, he said.

“This administration would sustain the empowerment programmes for women and the girl-child to engender the uplifting of families economies. We have commenced the Girls Entrepreneurship and Skills Training (GEST) programme for 450 girls. This number will be upscaled in 2021,” he added.

It would be recall that within the five years, the Job and Wealth Creation Programme has trained and established more than 5,000 youths in various skills training and entrepreneurship programnes.

The beneficiaries who are now the chief executive officers (CEO) of their various enterprises are also training other youths.

With the bold move made so far, it is believed that successive administration in the state would not scrap or abandon the programme.

Matthew Okwaje, president-general of Igbodo Development Union, Igbodo, Delta State, said: “The governor after Governor Okowa should work towards adding value to what Okowa has done and not to condemn and destroy the vision.”

Governor Okowa has the vision. He came in and shared the vision with Deltans. Now, as our children are beneficiaries, our families, communities, the state and country at large, have also benefitted because it has reduced crime rate and boosted social and economic lives of the people, he observed.

Chairman, Delta State Chapter of the Christian Association (CAN), Sylvanus Okorote, who believes that the programme has impacted on the people greatly even spiritually, said as it has made them self-employed. By the reason of the programme, the youths who were neither paying taxes nor tithes are now paying. They are now independent, responsible and useful to themselves and society.

“We can only pray for more of our people to benefit since from the scheme because the oil and gas sector has failed to provide the needed employment for the people. In the past, we looked up to the oil economy but today, our youths must embrace skills and agriculture and successive administrations in the state should build on what Governor Okowa has started. That’s the way to go, he said.

As more and more Deltans benefit from the activities and programmes of the bureau presently and in future cycles, all eyes are still on the post-Okowa era. Whether the successor would pay attention to the bureau and not starve it of funds while initiating another programme to be credited to himself. Apart from funds, whether a committed and passionate person would be made the head of the bureau is another factor that observers say would truly sustain the programme beyond 2023