No fewer than 6000 women and youths drawn from the 17 local government areas of Enugu State yesterday concluded a-three month Grassroots Initiative Skill Acquisition program in the state.
The program which was sponsored by the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Eugene Odoh and coordinated by the Enugu Grassroots Development Initiative (EGDI) commenced in March this year and took the trainers to all the 17 councils in the state. Speaking at the closing ceremony which took place at Igboetiti Council Headquarters, Ogbede said the beneficiaries of the program were trained on several skills including bread making, perfume production,
scrubbing powder production, liquid soap and other laundry products, production of insecticides, social farming, paint making as well as modern farm produce storage methods.
He said the beneficiaries would be encouraged to take advantage of the ongoing Enugu State, Bank of Industry and Agricultural Loan Scheme to kick start their businesses.
He disclosed that the state presently has N2 billion yet-to-be accessed at the BOI, Bank of Agriculture and the Central Bank, noting that the fund can go a long way in assisting Small and Medium Scale Entrepreneurs (SMEs) in the state.
He said the skill acquisition program was one of the interventionist schemes that were designed to fill the gap in the nation's quest to stem the tide of unemployment; encourage manpower development initiative and self reliance in line with the state's four-point agenda as well as in keeping faith with the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals.
"Available statistics reveal that unemployment rate in Nigeria is increasing geometrically and if urgent intervention is not procured to reverse the trend, it may induce social upheavals and increase criminality in the system.
"We recognise that skills don't depend solely upon a person's fundamental innate capabilities but must be honed and developed through training, practice and experience," he said.
He said it was in recognition of the fact that formal education alone could not address the challenging menace of poverty and unemployment that inspired the Grassroots Development Initiative so as to bridge the gap between schooling and work in the state.
He therefore praised Governor Sullivan Chime for having worked tirelessly in pursuit of poverty eradication program through infrastructural development such as construction of urban and rural roads, health institutions, electricity and water.
Earlier, the Leader of EGDI, Frank Ugwu said women and youths from different communities in the state turned up for the skill acquisition programm, noting that by the time the beneficiaries begin to nurture their skills, the state would be better for it