By Yinusa Ishola
The Small and Medium, Entreprises Development Agency,(SMEDAN) has trained and equipped no fewer than 90 youths and women in vocational skills acquisition in Ekiti.
The Director-General of SMEDAN,Mr Olawale Fasoran, said the essence of the programme was to bridge the skills gap among the over 39 million small businesses in the country.
Fasoran, who was represented by the agency’s Assistant Director Entreprise Development and Promotions, Mr Shuaibu Haruna, stated this on Thursday during the closing ceremony of the two weeks training programme in Ado-Ekiti.
The SMEDAN DG explained that agriculture has the highest number in the scheme, adding that skill acquisition is key to employment.
He said the National Business Skills Development Initiative,(NBSDI) which was initiated three years ago targeted youths and women; in order to reduce unemployment.
He said NBSDI was aimed at getting more people to be self-employed and to also reduce youth restiveness, since 95 per cent of the beneficiaries are youths and women.
“This initiative is to get more people self-employed and that will also reduce youths restiveness, if you notice, over 95 per cent of the beneficiaries are youths and women
“Those are the focal target of the people, because, if a nation is able to empower youths and women, such a nation reduce alot of the pressure in the society,” the SMEDAN DG said.
He said the 2022 edition of the programme trained the beneficiaries in fashion designing, photography and catering.
He also said the agency during the two weeks programme did not only trained the beneficiaries, but empowered them with 70 industrial sewing machines, 10 catering tools and 10 photography equipment.
He encouraged the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the equipment for the purpose they are meant for.
He assured that the President Mohammadu Buhari-led Federal Government would continue to ensure that more unemployed people, especially youths and women are taken off the streets.
He said that though government has no business in doing business, but that it is the business of government to provide the enabling environment for business to thrive.
He added that Federal Government through SMEDAN is providing this opportunity with the initiative.
Speaking further, the SMEDAN boss said monitoring and extension services had been put in place to ensure proper usage of the equipment, saying the agency recorded about 85 per cent of compliance from the beneficiaries in 2021.
Some of the beneficiaries, who included, Miss Fatima Ibrahim, a fashion designer, Mr Raphael Egenawo, a photographer and Mrs Lydia Bamgboye, a caterer, spoke on behalf of the beneficiaries and thanked the Federal Government for the initiative.
They prayed that the continuity of the programme so that more people can be empowered to create jobs, rather than being job seekers.(NAN)