The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, SMEDAN, says the implementation of the Vocational Entrepreneurship and Empowerment Programme will create 140,970 direct jobs across 18 states of the federation.
Dr Dikki Raddo, Director General, SMEDAN, made the assertion during the opening of the three-day training programme organised by the agency for unemployed youths in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
Raddo, represented by Mrs Ime Andy, an Assistant Director in the agency, said the programme was designed to equip unemployed Nigerians with skills to enable them to open businesses and employ others.
He said that the programme would generate additional 563, 880 indirect jobs in the country from the training of artisans annually in the benefitting states over the next three years.
“The training targets to provide vocational skills and empowerment to beneficiaries in tailoring, hairdressing and GSM (phone) repairs.
“The programme targets mostly artisans, those who have the skills but don’t have the tool kit to start and grow their businesses.
“The trainees will receive refresher tips to enable them to grow and add value to their well being and economy of the country,” he said.
Raddo said that 127 trainees were expected to participate in the exercise in Rivers, while the same number of beneficiaries would participate in 10 other states.
The director general said that SMEDAN, under the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, would also mentor the beneficiaries to run their businesses at the end of the exercise.
“So, at the end of the training, we will present sewing machines to the tailors; dryers to the hairdressers; and tool kits to the phone repairers.
“The programme is expected to create 140,970 direct jobs to Nigerians at the end of the exercise.
“The whole essence of the training programme is to ensure the growth of local contents in the country,” he added.
On her part, Mrs Clara Nwankpa, Rivers’ Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, thanked the Federal Government for its commitment to training youths in the state.
He said that Gov. Nyesom Wike had prioritised job creation and empowerment of youths in the developmental agenda of his administration.
“So, we urge the participants to make judicious use of this rare opportunity to better their lives, families and the society at large,” she advised the beneficiaries.
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, Mrs Tamuno Boma, thanked SMEDAN for ensuring the selection process for the participants was fair and transparent, and urged government to expand the programme.