We are in a hurry to fight poverty, unemployment- Says Nsima Ekere, NDDC Boss
.Partners SMEDAN, BHIIP to create jobs
By Udeme Clement
“I am in a hurry. We can’t wait to create more jobs for the people of Niger Delta. We want to fight poverty, unemployment and restiveness. This is one of the ways to ensure that militancy is curtailed in the region”.
“I believe that we can create new jobs for our people. We can build the economy of Niger Delta. Most importantly, we want to ensure that the youths are engaged. This is important, because if the youths are meaningfully engaged on a daily basis, there won’t be time for them to plan mischief”.
These were the words of the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of NDDC, Mr. Nsima Ekere, while signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), with officials of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), and Builders Hub Impact Investment Programme (BHIIP) for investment in enterprise hub project.
According to him, “The meeting as well as the MoU signing marked a follow up to the previous engagement entered into with the Director-General of SMEDAN, Dr. Dikko Radda, at his office in Abuja.
The NDDC Boss enthused: “Our partnership with SMEDAN is one of the ways to prove that inter-agency collaboration with government agencies could work to enhance economic growth and development. In Nigeria, we have different agencies and initiatives with specified core mandates. I believe these agencies could work in synergy for the good of Nigeria and the citizens. I believe NDDC and SMEDAN would work in syergy to create jobs for the youths. We must also give particular attention to women”.
He added, “The enterprise project would enhance meaningful engagement of our youths. Therefore, we must get it running as fast as possible, in order to achieve the objective. We made provisions in our budget and I think in the next two months, we would have sufficient budgetary provision for the take-off of the project. The concept is for us to start with one of the Industrial Development Centers (IDCs), owned by SMEDAN in Niger Delta. Ultimately, our strategy is to ensure that all IDCs owned by SMEDAN in the region are revamped and effectivley utilised for this purpose”.
In his response, the Director-General of SMEDAN, Dr Radda expressed readiness to work with NDDC. He explained that SMEDAN has been well repositioned to create jobs, in order to alleviate poverty in Nigeria. He pointed out that SMEDAN was set up to facilitate the development and promotion of Small and Medium Enterprise in the country, by stimulating and monitoring growth of the sub-sector.
His remarks: “We are ready to work with the Commission to achieve implementation of its work plan for the development of Niger Delta. SMEDAN has 23 IDCs nationwide, and four out of the 23 centers are located in Niger Delta region”.
In her presentation, the Chief Executive Officer of BHIIP, Natasha Akpote, stressed the need to stimulate indigenous innovations, saying that Nigeria would be better served with more entrepreneurs. “We should focus on areas where training expertise could create more jobs. The idea of enterprise hub is not just to assist youths in business start-ups but to provide support for survival and growth in the long-run”