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By NBF News
Listen to article The Nigerian Export Promotion Council(NEPC), has concluded arrangements to train 100 Akwa Ibom indigenes in specialised skills and crafts.

The zonal controller of NEPC, Mr George Enyiekpon, in an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP yesterday in Uyo  said the programme which would take many months, would take-off  from January 2013, adding that it would be fully funded by the Council with the sole aim of building up capacity.

Enyiekpon  maintained that it was a special programme that would make the products meet international standards for export.

'We hope to give them little start up facilities to be able to compete. We are looking at 500 to 1000 people and it depends on the kind of enthusiasm we get from the public because since it's a specialised programme, we will concentrate on those we can possibly train to the standard we want within a short time.'

He stated that  though the programme was opened to all interested persons, 'we will not start from the grassroots but will begin with those that already have the experience in this sector and by the time we treat those ones at that level, they will be able to train others.'

Enyiekpon disclosed that already, application forms, which are free, were ready for collection by interested participants at the NEPC office in Uyo, adding that the forms should be filled and returned within two weeks from December 22, 2012.

'The programme is starting this week (last week) with advertisements calling for applications because we want to have a data base and from that data base, we make selection of those that will take part in the programme.

'After the selection, the training will start immediately. We have already put in measures enough that once we start, we will continue without breaking,' he added.

I'm sure that by early January, training will start but application forms for registration have already begun and soon we are going to invite participants. I want to say that participation is free,' he further explained.

Enyiekpon hinted that certificated entrepreneur educators and consultants across the academic fields, such as  the NEPC,  United Nation Industrial Development Agency, which, he said, are cooperating in terms of equipment, the Centre for Entrepreneurship Development, Home Economics Department of the  University of Uyo, the  National Directorate for Employment, (NDE), and Small and Medium Scale Enterprises have been enlisted to train the participants.

On the way forward, the NEPC zonal controller said that 'the only way to go is export. Everybody all over the world is aware that oil is a limited resource; it can dry up any time. Politics and political influences can jeopardize a country that solely depends on the export of oil. So what we are asking for is supply that must go the way of export and the only way is making sure that our agricultural products are developed, including our solid minerals, our tourism base, social services and put them up in the international market.'