By Clara Egbogota
Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, says the entrepreneurship development initiative in vocational skills is a deliberate effort to mitigate poverty and stamp out youths restiveness.
Okowa made this known on Thursday while inaugurating the second cycle of Girls Entrepreneurship and SkillsTraining (GEST) programme at the NYSC Permanent Orientation Camp in Issele-Uku.
He said his administration had always believed that solution to the current unemployment quagmire in the state was through entrepreneurship development.
According to him, it will also help in curbing youths restiveness.
“The strategy of this administration is to equip youths with relevant knowledge and resources to engage in vocational skills-based micro and cottage enterprises.
“This becomes more exigent with fewer job vacancies in the civil service and in the oil and gas sector, especially as future of the global oil and gas industry is hanging in the balance with the development of alternative sources of energy,” he said.
The governor also called on beneficiaries of the GEST Scheme to demonstrate willingness to learn and show capacity to grow in their respective vocations.
“I must say that the pioneer set has set a good example for you to follow; they are partly the reason we doubled the number of beneficiaries from 450.
“You have, even better reason to excel, because unlike them, you are having the benefit of a three-day residential orientation programme,” Okowa said.
He implored the 900 beneficiaries of the programme to justify the trust and confidence of government in choosing to invest in their future by leveraging on the programme to enhance their socioeconomic status.
Okowa expressed satisfaction with the praise reports about the pioneer set of GEST, noting that many of them had proved to be worthy of the state government’s investment in them.
“We are pleased with the praise reports we keep hearing about the pioneer set of GEST.
“Many of them have proved to be worthy of our investment; they have impressed with their passion, resourcefulness, creativity and determination to succeed,” the governor said.
He commended the Girl-Child Empowerment Office for its focus and dedication and for being able to select 900 participants from the pool of no fewer than 21,000 applications.
Okowa said the list of beneficiaries was representative enough, using objective data and indices peculiar to the socio-political environment in the state, was worthy of applause.
He said his administration did not measure success by efforts, but by output, adding that focus should be on outcomes and not inputs.
The governor urged people in the state to eschew sentiments and shun parochial considerations.
Also, Dame Edith Okowa, Wife of the Governor, expressed joy with the pedigree of beneficiaries of the programme most of whom, she said, had sound academic qualifications.
Okowa underscored the importance of vocational skills, urging the beneficiaries to ensure that they became new crop of entrepreneurs by putting the knowledge that they would acquire at the end of the day into maximum use.
Commenting, Bridget Anyafulu, the Commissioner for Humanitarian and Community Support Services, said that the Girl-Child Office was created to bridge the gap of girls between the ages of 18 and 30 years in skills development and empowerment.
In her remarks, Mrs Marilyn Daramola, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Girl-Child Empowerment, said of the 21,000 applicants who wished to be part of the programme, 900 met the criteria and were selected.
Daramola urged them to ensure that they gave their best so as to enjoy the gains tied to the programme.
She called on the private sector to partner the state government in jobs creation and youths empowerment, adding that no government could provide for the masses all alone.
Daramola said she was impressed with the success recorded in raising the pioneer set of the programme, and urged the new set of beneficiaries to maximise the opportunity.(NAN)