PLATEAU GOVERNOR EMPOWERS 500 YOUTHS, VOWS CONTINOUS SUPPORT FOR JOB CREATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP.
BELOW IS HIS SPEECH AT THE EVENT HELD IN JOS.
REMARKS BY H.E. RT. HON. SIMON BAKO LALONG, EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR OF PLATEAU STATE AT THE GRADUATION 500 BENEFICIARIES OF SKILL ACQUISITION IN PLATEAU STATE 20TH NOVEMBER 2020.
- It is with great pleasure that I address you today at the graduation of 500 beneficiaries of skills acquisition here in Plateau State who have undergone training by the Plateau State Micro Finance Development Agency (PLASMIDA) and the Industrial Training Fund (ITF).
- This program represents the continuation of our administration’s efforts at developing manpower in the State and empowering the people towards self reliance and job creation. Indeed this event gladens my heart as we are clearly making progress.
- The first phase of this particular training commenced in February 2019 where we trained over 7,500 on financial literacy and entrepreneurship and each beneficiary accessed grants of 12,000 naira each.
- We are today adding this number of 500 who have recieved training in the following Trades:
- Aluminium Works
- Welding and Fabrication
- Leather Works
- Hair dressing
- These initiatives are gradually becoming the hallmark of the implementation of the Rescue Administration’s agenda of Economic Rebirth. As a Government, we are determined to ensure that our people embrace self reliance rather than looking up to Government for white colar jobs which do not exist.
- Such determination has seen us also retool our education to focus on skill development as we are building two more Technical Schools in Shendam and Pankshin in addition to the one we have in Bukuru. That is why I was deeply distressed when hoodlums hijacked the ENDSARS protests and vandalised BUTES.
- In spite of this setback, we are determined to ensure that we use every opportunity to teach our people particularly youths how to make money using their gifts takents and energies. We cannot be deterred nor intimidated.
- We are happy that our efforts in skill development, innovation and training have put Plateau State in a leading position at the local and international stage. As it stands today, we are the State to beat in the National MSME Awards which began 3 years ago.
- In all the annual competitions, Plateau has always presented candidates who emerged top with quality innovations. Right from Jerry Mallo who emerged overall best at the maiden edition to Luka Zang Bot and this year Mafeng Gwalson, we have affirmed to Nigeria and the world that we are a State of hardworking and ingenious people.
- That is why I have continued to impress on the DG PLASMIDA and his team that Plateau State should always be involved in all empowerment programmes of the Federal Government, Donor Organisations and Non governmental bodies.
- We are currently implementating the Survival Fund where over 4000 beneficiaries from Plateau State will have access 30,000 each to assist their businesses. For the payroll support under the survival fund, we have captured over 24,000 target beneficiaries.
- Also in response to the COVID 19 pandemic, I ordered the Director General of PlASMIDA to carry out sensitization to our MSMEs on the N75 billion Targeted Credit Facility Stimulus fund of the Central Bank where a number of our businesses benefitted.
- Because PLASMIDA is handling the implementation, we are guaranteed that Plateau youths will benefit from this program which is aimed at cushioning the effects of the pandemic on businesses.
- Plateau State has also qualified to access $20 million dollars to empower communities through Infrastructural development, provision of farm inputs to farmers, strengthening MSMEs capabilities, conditional Cash Transfers, Public Work force programs among others, all intended to reduce the negative consequences of the pandemic on our people.
- For today’s beneficiaries, I want to appeal to you to get to work and create opportunities for yourself and others so as to avoid poverty. I expect that within the shortest time possible time, you will be employers of labour as you make progress.
- Like the Bible says, do not despise the days of little beginnings. This means that you should not allow people to discourage you as you begin your businesses. The journey can be rough, but when you endure, you will smile at the end of the day.
- Put into practice all that you have been taught here and always refer to PLASMIDA and the ITF if you have any challenge that is beyond you. They have all it takes to give you the right counsel and also resolve some of the issues.
- At this point, let me register once again our profound gratitude to the Director General of the Industrial Training Fund Sir. Joseph Ari for partnering with Plateau State and ensuring that our citizens benefit from the intiatives of the Fund. We look forward to more collaboration and support.
- I want to use this opportunity to again appeal to our youths to take advantage of programmes such as this to get empowered for productivity. Rather than engage in criminality such as the one we witnessed last month, you can engage in lawful activities to create wealth.
- Our doors will always remain open to dialogue and engage with our youths on measures to alleviate their challenges. Do not be deceived by false narratives by those who do not wish this administration well, always creating the impression that Government does not care about you. At least this event discredits that falsehood.
- Finally I call on investors to take advantage of the improved business climate and peace to invest in Plateau State. We are open for business and shall continue to welcome all to do business with us.
- Once more I congratulate the beneficiaries and wish you well.
- God bless Plateau State, and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Rt. Hon. (Dr) Simon Bako Lalong, KSGG
Executive Governor of Plateau State.
20th November 2020.