Delta: Okowa To Create 6,000 Direct Jobs In Six Months


…Rolls out six entrepreneurship schemes
The Delta State Government Tuesday said it will create 6,000 direct jobs in the next six months as it rolled out six entrepreneurship schemes that would create jobs and wealth as well as diversify the state’s economy.

The schemes included Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP), Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP); Production and Processing Support Programme (PPSP); Tractorisation; Extension of Loans; and Development of Agro-industries.

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, who spoke through his deputy, Barrister Kingsley Otuaro, while unveiling the programmes before chairmen of the Traditional Rulers Councils in the 25 local government areas of the state, said the state government is determined and poised to deliver prosperity to everyone in Delta through its “SM.A.R.T” agenda.

According to Okowa; “these initiatives will create jobs and wealth, diversify the economy, engage youths in productive enterprises, nurture entrepreneurs and leaders, as well as promote communal peace and security.”

He said the state government was launching the job creation initiative to ensure that it delivers prosperity to everyone in Delta through its “SM.A.R.T” agenda.

Okowa explained that the meeting with the traditional rulers was to get them acquainted with the government's job creation programmes as key stakeholders and partners in the administration of the state.

“We want to take advantage of our revered traditional institution to ensure that beneficiaries are sons and daughters of our communities so that we can maximise the gains of all that we are putting into the programmes,” he said.

Explaining further how the scheme will work, Okowa said the royal palaces of traditional rulers across the state would serve as centres for collection and submission of the forms for interested participants in any of the schemes.

According to the governor, although the forms could also be accessed and downloaded online, the recourse to the traditional rulers to assist in the distribution and collation of the forms was to allay any fears of political marginalisation as the royal fathers are non-partisan.

In their response, some of the traditional rulers who spoke at the occasion, lauded the state government initiatives in ensuring transparency in the job creation process, assuring that their people will participate actively in the programmes.

Earlier, while giving a graphic details of the scheme, the Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee on Job Creation and Commissioner-Designate, Dr. Kingsley Emu, explained that under the YAGEP scheme, participants across the 25 local government areas will be screened and selected by a team of consultants after which they will undergo one month training at Songhai Farms for life skills, attitudinal change, and hands on management.

He revealed that upon completion of the training, the participants will proceed on a one-month internship after where they will be given starter packs to start their own farms.

The Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP), he said, is meant to equip youths with vocational and technical skills in computer hardware and phone repairs, sewing, plumbing, tiling, electrical installation, POP, catering and confectionaries, events management, among others.

The objective of the PPSP, according to Emu, is to increase production capacity of existing farmers and the quality of produce through best practice.

Beneficiaries will be granted micro credit through available financing windows, subsidised bulldozers, tractors implements, chemicals, and high quality seeds.

Participants/beneficiaries will also be selected from across the 25 local government areas through direct stakeholder consultation with farmers' representatives, and other relevant organisations.

Emu advised artisans to organise themselves into cooperatives to enable them access the “micro credit and agricultural loans with liberal repayment terms in line with the extant microcredit programme.”

He disclosed that the Committee, in collaboration with Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (MSMEDA) and Ministry of Commerce and Industry, will identify and select beneficiary groups within a few weeks; give necessary orientation to selected groups on microcredit management; and disburse the loans as soon as the process is completed.

The areas of focus, Emu said, are piggery, poultry, fisheries, and vegetable farming.