CBN sets up entrepreneurship devt centre in Abia State

By The Citizen
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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has set up an Entrepreneurship Development Centre (EDC) in Umuahia, the Abia State Capital, to absolve about 58 per cent of unemployed Nigerian youth.

The initiative, which is a tripartite agreement between the CBN, Abia State Government and International Centre for Development Affairs (ICDA), is strategically designed to train tertiary graduates, secondary school leavers and owners of existing businesses for three months with a view to making them acquire skills and be self-sufficient.

Speaking at the signing of the agreement by the three parties, prior to kick-off of the programme in Umuahia, Director, Development Finance Department of the CBN, Dr. Mudashiru Olaitan said the training will include, internship modules for practical skills development and experimental learning of the participants.

Besides, Olaitan said the CBN has also made provision to create jobs for at least 40 per cent of women as part of its strategy to promote women economic and empowerment.

'The bank approved three years extension of this phase and it is to be supported by the host state government where the centre is located. The state government is expected to take over the running of the centre in collaboration with the implementing agencies when the bank exits after three years' he said.

Olaitan explained that the EDCs which commenced operations in January 2013 and located in the North East, South-South and North Central have trained over 17,727 participant, representing 98.5 per cent of the target set while a total of 9,298 businesses were expanded. Also, a total of 6,311 of the graduates, representing 35.0 per cent of the set target, accessed loans to the tune of N1, 042 billion from various sources.

The centres, according to him, collectively created 14,069 jobs directly while the second phase of the EDC programme, under the Tripartite Agreement, located in the North-West and South-West, which commenced in January 2015, collectively trained 3,146 representing 75 per cent of the target set, linked 160 participants representing 5 per cent of the target set to finance and 1,159 jobs created.

In his remarks, Abia State Commissioner of Finance, Mazi Obinna Oriaku thanked CBN for finding the state worthy of hosting the southeast EDC, while promising to ensure that the project does not fail.

'I thank CBN for finding our state worthy of handling this big task because it was a project that was highly sought-after by our sister states. The state (Abia) occupies a very strategic position in the southeast, being the epicentre of the entire southeast. The Guardian