Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta has said that the State Government had trained and empowered no fewer than 100,000 youths to become entrepreneurs in the last six years.

He stated this in a state broadcast to mark his 6th anniversary in office as governor.

According to the governor, with the goal of “Prosperity for All Deltans’’, our administration from the onset took swift and decisive actions on the issue of youth unemployment.

He said that the large army of unemployed graduates and secondary school leavers was a clear danger to the peace and security of the state hence his administration resolved to work towards making them job creators instead of job seekers.

Okowa said that the job creation programme was impacting positively on the growth and development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSMEs) sub-sector in the state.

“As an administration, we were clear what needed to be done – equip these young people with the requisite technical know-how, vocational skills, values and resources to become employable and self-employed.

“To drive this process, we established the Technical and Vocational Education Board and created a special purpose vehicle, the Office of the Chief Job Creation Officer.

“After six years, we can be proud of the progress we have made in this regard with the successful training of at least 100, 000 persons to start up their own businesses.

“The impact of these programmes is already being felt with hundreds of MSMEs springing up across the state, leading to poverty reduction and improved living standards for our people.

“In 2020, the National Bureau of Statistics released two major statistics, first on Poverty-Population ratio among states in Nigeria, and second, on unemployment rate in the country.

“Both statistics took cognizance of both the national average and prevailing averages across the 36 states. In both instances, Delta State recorded appreciable improvement and growth, both in terms of number of people rescued from poverty and those saved from the unemployment market.

“Delta was adjudged to be the second least poor state, coming only after Lagos, Nigeria’s business hub. The report revealed that Delta achieved a score of 6 per cent on poverty-to-population ratio.

“This means that only six per cent of the population survive on the breadline of less than $1 per day. By implication, 94 per cent of Deltans live above $1 per day.

“This achievement is better appreciated when juxtaposed with the fact that Delta State was the 12th poorest state in Nigeria as at 2010,” he said.

Okowa said that the impressive poverty reduction ranking of the state was the outcome of interplay of factors, including efficient public resource management, sound economic policies, and effective sector interventions.

“Even more gratifying is that our youths are imbibing the principles of skills acquisition and entrepreneurship as a viable employment option.

“They are now looking beyond and outside their academic certificates for employment and livelihoods as owners and managers of skills-based enterprises.

“In addition to the existing 12 vocational education training centres in the state, this administration has given approval for the establishment of five new ones at Evwreni, Umutu, Kokori, Ashaka and Oza-Nogogo,” he stated.

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