From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
The Nigeria Young Professionals Forum (NYPF) has faulted the various schemes of empowerment adopted by governors of the Niger Delta states.
NYPF said the various schemes were archaic and were no longer yielding the desired objectives of creating job and wealth for the overall growth of the nation’s economy.
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Convener of the NYPF, Mr. Moses Siasia who stated this in Asaba, Delta State explained that the old way of empowerment was still being deployed in the region because of the “age of ideas of the leaders who only think about the next election rather than the next generation.”
Mr. Siasia was speaking at the second Niger Delta MSME Summit with the theme: Stimulating MSME Growth Towards Post COVID-19 Recovery.
He said the region and it’s leaders needed to conform with the realities on group, and leverage on technological advancement to train and empower in a sustainable manner.
“More importantly, the traditional way of empowerment is archaic and analog, and a lot of development partners have actually kicked against.
“We are not saying that contracts and procurement is not good because it is part of government process, but you must have element of providing sustainable employment where youths can also benefit in terms of training.
“For example, what is the element of job creation in the contracts being awarded? You can hear of several contracts for bridges and roads but what economic value is it bringing back to those states.
“In this region, our governments award contracts of several billions of naira solar street lighting solution, what we are saying is that why don’t we bring young people together, train them to build the solar panels and you it for our people,” he said.
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Siasia challenged successful entrepreneurs from the region including Tony Elumelu and Jim Ovia to come back and provide sustainable empowerment opportunities for the youths.
According to him, the summit was a deliberate effort by young people from the region who have excelled in their chosen careers to come together and contribute funding in order to add value to the process of growth.
He thanked the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele and the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Simbi Wabote for their support towards sustainable youth empowerment.
In a remark, Wabote who was represented by Ama Ikuru, said the board has various funding interventions which enterprising youths from the region can take advantage of to grow their businesses.
“We have series of funds, we have $250 million for the Nigeria content intervention fund with the Bank of Industry (BoI) which Nigerians have been taking to grow their businesses.
“We also have the Nigeria content non oil and gas fund for people who want to set up their plants in our parks.
“We want youths to take up the challenge and come up with ideas to set up their facilities at the park. Funding should not be an issue, we will support them with funds, what we need from them is the creative idea that would be compelling,” he said.