In a bid to support the information technology revolution, the Federal Government and ALAT have launched the Skillnovation Programme, targeted at empowering three million youths.
The project which is expected to extend the reach of economic and social interactions as well as enhance productivity growth in Nigeria was launched by Vice President Kashim Shettima, in Abuja.
The initiative will provide over three million Nigerians with the essential digital skills required to succeed in the global economy.
Speaking during the launch in Abuja on Friday, Vice President Kashim Shettima, described the Skillnovation as a “transformative initiative” that “ushers in a new era of digital empowerment for” Nigerians.
“We are compelled to tread this path by the direction in which the world has headed; a world of disruptive technologies redefined by the fourth industrial revolution.
“This initiative is a response to the evolution of the modern business environment, an acknowledgement that digital skills have become the cornerstone of economic ease and expansion.”
The vice president said the gathering was one of the many to come and an occasion to reassure the nation that President Bola Tinubu was committed to supporting the growth of small businesses.
The Skillnovation Programme will establish 15 state-of-the-art ICT centres, strategically placed across Nigeria, to provide individuals and businesses alike with access to cutting-edge digital training, resources, and support.
The first phase of the programme will focus on the states of Katsina, Anambra, Borno, Lagos, Oyo, and Kano, while the second phase will include Delta, Kaduna, Ogun, Bauchi, Kwara, and Ekiti states.
Giving an insight into how the country would benefit from the programme, Shettima said, “Nigeria, with its expanding MSME sector of close to 40 million, has the potential to lead business innovation beyond Africa. The Skillnovation Programme, therefore, aims to unlock this immense potential. The initiative is designed to provide the necessary tools and skills for our MSMEs to thrive and compete on the global stage.
“As you have witnessed, ladies and gentlemen, the Skillnovation Programme is not a mere promise; it is a resounding commitment to the Nigerian people,” he added. “It’s in pursuit of this administration’s resolve to empower our youth and MSMEs and to create a more inclusive and prosperous Nigeria. Today, we are translating that commitment into action, and we intend to be your allies in your race to take over the world through your enhanced skills.”
Shetimma also assured that nobody would be left out of the Skillnovation Programme, regardless of age, gender, or disability.
“There will be no disadvantaged demographic in accessing this opportunity. Our youth, women, and persons with disabilities have found friends and allies and will be favoured in our proposed single-digit loan schemes for our valued MSMEs, for which talks are already ongoing with the Bank of Industry and other critical stakeholders and partners,” he stated.
Earlier in his address, Temitola Adekunle-Johnson, the senior special assistant to the president on job creation and MSMEs, stressed the significance of the partnership, noting that the government alone could not address the challenges confronting Nigerians.
Moruf Oseni, managing director of Wema Bank, on his part, praised the government for seeking to empower young Nigerians, just as he announced the establishment of skills training centres across 17 states, beginning with Lagos and Borno.