BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

Delta working to become Nigeria’s MSME hub – Okowa

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa says his administration is working towards making Delta State Nigeria’s centre for micro, small and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs).

He said with the creation of over 128,813 direct and indirect jobs through the various job and wealth creation programmes of his administration, Delta would truly become a hub for MSMEs in the next few years.

He made the remarks at the graduation of the third cycle of the Women Empowerment Skill Acquisition Programme (WESAP) held on Friday in Asaba.

The governor said with the sustained growth of MSMEs, the issue of unemployment will become a thing of the past because people will become employers of labour rather than job seekers.

He commended the state ministry of women affairs and all the programme management for their dedication and consistency.

According to him, WESAP is our platform to enhance social inclusion by equipping the womenfolk with the necessary knowledge, skills, and resources to be productively engaged.

“I am pleased that the programme has remained steadfast to its mandate since it was inaugurated in November 2020.

“Let me also appreciate Heritage Bank for their current partnership, which has infused better financial management, transparency, and accountability into the programme.

“Today, we are empowering 280 women, including 12 persons living with disabilities who, at the expense of the Delta State government, underwent a six-month training in arts and craft at the Farm Craft Centre for the blind in Isheri, Lagos.

“Today’s graduates bring the total number of WESAP beneficiaries to 835. They have been resourced with the vocational skills to run various enterprises in fashion design, hairdressing, confectionaries, decoration, and makeover/headgear.

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“As of June 1, 2022, one hundred and 12,813 indirect jobs have been created through the various job creation, youth empowerment, and social investments delivery platforms of the administration.

“While this has impacted positively on the economy of multiplied thousands of households, I guarantee you that the maximum impact of these programmes will be felt in no distant future when Delta State becomes the MSMEs hub of Nigeria.

“To the ladies who begin their entrepreneurship journey today, it is my hope that you will follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before you and make good success of this opportunity of a lifetime.

“You are among the privileged few who were enlisted in the programme from a long list of others who were equally qualified, but due to limited resources, we could only admit a limited number for now.”

He urged the beneficiaries to reciprocate the good gesture of the government by committing themselves to a disciplined work ethic, prudent management, and excellent customer service.

“It is now time to put the knowledge you acquired in terms of personal effectiveness, sales and marketing, appropriate pricing, excellent customer service, and business management.”

In her address, the commissioner for women affairs, community and social development, Flora Alanta said the WESAP programme was established three years ago to ameliorate the economic hardship the COVID-19 pandemic unleashed on families.

She stated that an empowered woman was the bedrock for the economic emancipation of families, adding that the future of families depends on the economic empowerment of women.

She said women needed to have skills that will earn them a living, adding that 280 women, including 12 persons with disabilities were among the beneficiaries.

The managing director of Heritage Bank, represented by Charles Ojakovo, the group head of Edo/Delta region, lauded Governor Okowa for his unparalleled commitment to the growth of small and medium-scale enterprises as a way to rescuing Nigerians from hunger and poverty.

He pledged the partnership of the bank to the job and wealth creation programmes of the state government.

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