Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, has approved the immediate engagement of about 300 shortlisted applicants as employees of the newly built state-owned Calabar Garment Factory.
The lucky beneficiaries were at the garment factory for the final screening exercise for employment, which is in three batches for applicants from each of the three senatorial districts in the state.
Speaking during the exercise for applicants from the southern senatorial districts, Ayade directed that every applicant at the event be given automatic employment.
“When we set up this factory, the intension was not just to create jobs but also to guarantee that young men and women who have been challenged by circumstances of their births have the opportunity to better their lots.
“I’m so excited at what I am seeing here today, the number of people and their energy and it is an indication that our factory has taken off. Remember, the factory has the capacity to create 3,000 jobs.
“Truly, if you call yourself a leader, your focus should be on the vulnerable and the weakest that we are engaging today. We will guarantee you good salaries, food and proper transportation.”
“This is a lifesaving opportunity for the vulnerable. These women constitute the basis of the family, but unfortunately, because of the nature of our society, things have become very difficult for them,” he said.
Ayade described the factory as a new horizon for the employees to realize their true skills, potential and manifestation of what God has endowed them with.
“We want to show to the world that we have skills, great fashion engineers. I call you engineers because you are going to provide the skills that we have not seen before.”
Also speaking, President and Founder of Africa Young Entrepreneurs (AYE), Oluwa Summy Francis, who was in company with other entrepreneurs from other parts of Africa, described the establishment of Calabar Garment Factory by Governor Ayade as a demonstration of true leadership in action.
Francis said: “What I am seeing here is something far from Nigeria, this is not just an opportunity but something that will create Africa
“This is what happens when a youth becomes a governor, someone who truly has everything on his side like age, exposure, connections and commitment. When you have youth in the saddle, we should expect things like this.
“From our interactions with the governor, we are made to understand that the garment factory is the least of his lofty dreams for the people of Cross River. So, if this amazes you, then be ready for something that will blow your mind.
“Here is a man that does not only believe in the growth of Cross River and Nigeria, but that of Africa and I am really overwhelmed by this innovation and mind blowing opportunity for Africa in terms of job creation as well as attracting investors and investments back to Africa,” the President added.
Commissioner for Trade and Commerce, Mr. Peter Egba, explained that the flag-off of the training exercise was a testimony to Ayade’s industrialisation programme, aimed at reducing employment among the citizenry with 80 percent focused on women, particularly widows. He said as part of efforts to diversify the economy, the state government was repositioning agriculture in the area of value chain addition.
Stressing that as the second largest producer of cocoa in the country, plan was underway to start processing cocoa beans for export, thereby creating more jobs and more revenue into the coffers of government.
He thanked donor agencies and partners for believing in the Ayade’s vision and transformation agenda of the state.