REPORTER: AMECHI ODO
The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, (SMEDAN) has commenced the training of over four hundred and fifty entrepreneurs in vocational skills across the South East under National Business Skill Development Initiative.
The Director General of SMEDAN, Mr. Olawale Fasanya, stated this at the formal opening of the training programme in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.
Represented by the Director, Enterprises Development and Promotion of the Ageny, Chief Monday Ewans, the DG explained that ninety beneficiaries were selected from each state in the zone and would be trained and equipped in fashion, leather works and GSM repairs.
He emphasised that the aim of the initiative was to ensure that more professional services were provided by local and well trained young artisans to check job losses to immigrants from neighbouring countries.
“The programme is being implemented in all the states of the Federation and FCT where a total of 3,330 entrepreneurs will be impacted with skills and empowerment materials at the rate of 90 entrepreneurs per state.
“It seeks to pursue a drastic reduction in dependency poverty as most of the out of school youths, who still rely on stipends from parents, will be empowered to become self reliant,” he remarked.
Governor David Umahi had while declaring the event open said the state was ready to partner the Federal Government to ensure that the beneficiaries were provided with funds to expand their professions and trade.
Governor Umahi, who was represented by the Commissioner for Human Capital Development and Monitoring, Mrs. Ann Aligwe, warned the beneficiaries against selling the equipment that would be given to them.
“I must commend SMEDAN for all it’s good works in Ebonyi State and we request that there should be a repetition of this next year and to have more than two hundred beneficiaries.
“And I will want the representative of DG to carry this to Abuja that come next time when this programme will be organized that every Local Government is represented,” she appealed.
Some of the beneficiaries expressed appreciation to the Federal Government and promised not to sell their starter packs.
EDITED BY CHUKWUBUIKE MADU