Benue Government is to establish small and medium-scale enterprises development agency to fast track skills acquisition among youths in the state, Gov. Samuel Ortom has said.
The governor disclosed this on Friday in Makurdi at the closing ceremony of the training of 500 graduands by the National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP).
Ortom said it was his administration’s commitment to encourage skills acquisition and promote SMEs in the state that compelled him to send a bill for the establishment of the agency to the state assembly and which had passed second reading.
“It is my conviction that relevant industrial skills is a prerequisite to any society that wants to build a vibrant SMEs sub-sector.
“It is also in recognition of this model that I signed the second phase of NISDP in Abuja with the Director-General of ITF few days ago,” he said.
Ortom expressed regret that the state was one of the states with the highest number of unemployed youths.
He said that harsh economic situation had made it impossible for his administration to carry out employment at the moment, hence the need to embrace skills acquisition.
Ortom said that the graduands had chosen the right path to success and urged them to be foresighted, hardworking, diligent and committed to their chosen vocations.
Earlier, the state Commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investment, Prof. Tersoo Kpelai, had commended Ortom and described him as a pace setter for championing the training of youths on skills acquisitions to become self reliant.
Kpelai thanked Industrial Training Fund (ITF) for its partnership with the state government in the training of youths on skills acquisition in five different centres across the state.
He commended the trainees for their patience and endurance during the training and urged them to put to practice the knowledge acquired and become better citizens of their communities.
The Tor Tiv and chairman, Benue Council of Chiefs, Prof. James Ayatse, called on spirited individuals to join hands with the government and ITF to move the state forward through entrepreneurship.
The Tor Tiv urged ITF to step up the number of trainees during the next round from 500 to 1000.
Represented by Dr Shangev-De Adzongo, the monarch assured the graduands of his royal blessing to excel in their chosen trades.
The Director-General, IFT, Sir Joseph Ari, said that human capital empowerment was Ortom’s major concern, adding that Benue would be the first state to partner ITF on skills acquisition.
Ari urged the graduands to make life meaningful to themselves by making maximum use of the start-up kits given to them.