Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, has said that the state was working towards becoming Nigeria’s centre for medium, small and micro enterprises.
He said that 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 at the Event Centre, Asaba.
The governor said that with 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 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 twelve Persons Living with Disabilities who, at the expense of the Delta State Government, underwent a six-months 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/head gear.
“As of June 1, 2022, one hundred and twenty-eight thousand, eight hundred and thirteen direct and 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 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.
“Thankfully, Heritage Bank is there to facilitate the opening of your business accounts, which will enable you to separate your personal finances from the company funds and place yourself on a monthly salary.
“This will bring discipline into the running of the business, help to measure and monitor growth, as well as enforce accountability,” he stated.
Welcoming guests earlier, Commissioner for Women Affairs, Community and Social Development, Mrs 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 is the bedrock for the economic emancipation of families adding that the future of families depends on the economic empowerment of women.
She stressed that women need to have skills that will earn them a living adding that 280 women including 12 persons with disabilities were among the beneficiaries.
In his goodwill message, Managing Director of Heritage Bank Plc represented by the Group Head of Edo/Delta region Mr Charles Ojakovo lauded Governor Okowa for his unparalleled commitment to the growth of small and medium scale enterprises as a way to rescuing Nigerians form hunger and poverty.
He pledged the partnership of the bank to the job and wealth creation programmes of the state government.