A total of 200 trainees of the Defence and Police Officers Wives Association (DEPOWA) Women and Youth Empowerment Programme on Tuesday in Abuja graduated after undergoing various skills acquisition training with the President of DEPOWA, Mrs. Omobolanle Olonisakin saying the present harsh economic climate has made it imperative for self-reliant ventures among every Nigerian.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony, the wife of the Chief of Defence staff said, the 200 women and youths were drawn from the barracks across the services and trained in different vocations ranging from bead stringing, shoe and bag making, production, tye and dye, make-up and ‘Gele’ tying to barbing.
Breaking down the trainees by numbers and skills, she said, “Production has 40, Make-up and Gele-Tying has 40, Beads Stringing has 27 graduates, Shoe and Bag Making has 40, Barbing has 18 while Dye has 35 graduates.
While the beneficiaries providing with starter packs to commence business immediately for themselves, she said, “I want to implore you (beneficiaries) to put the knowledge acquired, as well as the starter packs provided to good use thereby making their lives better and be more productive”.
She assured them that a follow up evaluation will be conducted from time to time to ascertain adherence to the trainings they received.
Insisting that the present economic climate makes self-reliance expedient amongst us all, Mrs. Olonisakin said, “Our country as a developing nation, presently requires productive mindset than a consumer mindset” the DEPOWA President commended the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin for the financial support which facilitated the successful completion of the training and empowerment programme.
In a lecture delivered at the occasion, the Director General SMEDAN (Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria) Dr. Dikko Umaru Radda who was represented by Mr. Israel Ikyumior commended DEPOWA for the training programme urging the beneficiaries to know that the vocational training sets them apart from many others in the sub sector.
He noted that currently Nigeria’s economy was moving away from dependency in oil and youth restiveness adding, you have not just acquired skills as individuals; with your vocation, you can become very successful business men and women.
Disclosing that by their graduation, the 200 trainees have become responsibilities of SMEDAN, Mr. Ikyumior listed special intervention facilities available within SMEDAN and partnering agencies that are available for the trainees to grow in future.
“You will however meet some challenges on the way including financial, infrastructural challenges as well as challenges of the environment in which you operate. However, if you show commitment and passion for your vocation, SMEDAN will help you facilitate partnerships up to Bank of Industry.
On how small and medium enterprises have contributed to nation’s economy, he said, “In Nigeria, the 2013 National NSMEs survey revealed that a total of 37million have benefitted from Small and Medium Enterprises entities. These beneficiaries also employ 59million persons or 84% of the workforce, contributing 48.47% to GDP and 7.27% to exports.
“The foregoing figures give a perspective picture of the prominent place of MSMEs within our economy”.
Present at the graduation ceremony were the Presidents of NAOWA, Mrs. Buratai, NOWA, Mrs. Theresa Ibas, NAFOWA, Mrs. Hafsat Sadique and POWA, Hajia Asmau Kpotum Idris.
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