From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo, said federal government has disbursed about N100 billion through Development Bank of Nigeria since 2017 to facilitate Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in order to boost job creation.
According to a statement made available to journalists at the weekend in Abuja, the minister disclosed this at the flag off of the disbursement of empowerment items to women in Jos, Plateau State.
Keyamo who was represented by the Director General of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Abubakar Fikpo, said; “You will all agree with me that unemployment is one of the remote causes of banditry, terrorism, corruption and other forms of criminality.
“Even though the federal Government is working hard at check mating terrorism and all other forms of criminality and violent crimes, it is equally prosecuting the war against mass unemployment. “I am proud that the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) which I am privileged to Chair its Board and also directly supervise, is leading effectively that war against mass unemployment.
“let me inform you all that the Federal Government has put all plans in place to ensure that businesses succeed in Nigeria The present administration has launched series of funding and capacity development initiatives designed to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). Since 2017, the Development Bank of Nigeria has disbursed a total of N100 billion through the bank’s 27 participating financial Institutions (PFIs), thereby impacting more than 100,000 MSMEs.
“ It is heartwarming to note that fifty two percent (52%) of loans disbursed in 2019 and 2020 were to youths and women owned businesses.”
Addressing the beneficiaries, the NDE DG Mallam Fikpo in his speech said; “In NDE, the empowerment of women is designed to make the beneficiaries and trainees acquire relevant and marketable skills that will galvanize them into starting their own businesses. Our goal is to provide them with quick income generating opportunities because of their roles in providing family support and sound social stability at the very foundation of society.
“I am proud to inform you that the Women Employment Branch (WEB) of the Small Scale Enterprises Department of the NDE is responsible for driving initiatives aimed at providing ample opportunities for women with the entire framework of the our employment creation processes. WEB designs and implements gender specific schemes that provide direct assistance to women. In the last five years, over Five “Thousand women have been trained in different skills such as Interior Decoration, Bead Stringing, Shoe and Bag making use of local fabrics, Tie and Dye and Craft Beads just to mention a few.
“The Four Hundred and Twenty Five (425) women to be resettled here today are products of the collaborative efforts of the NDE with the League of Women Voters in Nigeria (NILOWV), and the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs as well as other women associations in the eight states where we pilot-tested the collaboration between us and our highly esteemed stakeholders.
“At this juncture, let me once again appreciate the effort and deep interest of the Honourable Minister for Women Affairs for her concern over the plight of the Nigerian woman. Our visit to her office made it imperative for the NDE to speed up activities in carrying out the pilot phase of the programme in the eight selected states of Taraba, Plateau, Nasarawa, Kano, Katsina, Delta, Enugu and Ogun.
“Our objective in empowering women is clear. We create employment for women to improve their socio-economic status, reduce poverty, create wealth and boost their leadership qualities so that they can have a say in their immediate community in relevant decision-making processes. The beneficiarieshere today had received training in Interior Decoration, Make-Over,Auto Gele Tying, Food Processing and Packaging.
“I am glad to inform you that each of the participants will be given a loan package ranging from One Hundred Thousand (N100, 000.00) to One Hundred and Fifty Thousand (N150, 000.00) Naira, depending on their choice of skill, to start their own businesses in order to exit the labour market. This will enable them become more responsible to their family and immediate environment.”