Osun State Governor, Mr Gboyega Oyetola on Thursday launched the state’s post COVID-19 economic intervention pilot programme.
The programme will see government disbursing a whopping sum of N100million to 2,000 beneficiaries for the pilot phase of the programme after undergoing Entrepreneurial Development Training.
The initiative was aimed at mitigating the negative impact of the global Coronavirus pandemic on the economy and augment the means of livelihood of the citizens.
Launching the Programme at the Industrial Development Centre, Osogbo, Oyetola said the initiative was conceptualised to reposition the economy which had become weak due to the pandemic, to path of growth, development and prosperity.
He said the adminstration decided on an economic strategy to generate 15,000 direct jobs annually through the intervention programme as the scheme would also help to engender socioeconomic and commercial development.
Oyetola who affirmed the capacity of the scheme to rejuvenate the state’s economy, noted that the strategy would strengthen industrialisation, commerce and investment while also enhancing Human Capital Development as part of the State’s economic repositioning strategy for those that might be negatively affected by the lockdown.
“The State Government has also provided N100 million to be disbursed as seed loans to beneficiaries under this programme through the Bank of Industry (BOI), while Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) will conduct Entrepreneurial Development training for them to ensure the programme achieves the desired objective.
“The year 2020 has indeed been a challenging year for individuals and governments alike. The year which started with so much promise has been sorely hobbled economically, financially, physically and fiscally by the Coronavirus Pandemic also known as COVID-19.
“This pandemic has greatly affected the resources of the world, the nation and, by extension, the State of Osun, as well as the socio-economic activities of the people.
“Today’s flag-off of Post COVID-19 Intervention Programme is a testament to the resolve and capacity of our administration to respond to virulent challenges in the way of our electoral promises and governance
“Before the COVID-19 pandemic, we had been working on making acquisition of vocational skills a priority in our 2020 budget as our way of providing solutions to the raging crass youth unemployment.
“As a proactive and people-oriented government, we are desirous of providing social and welfare services, food security, healthcare, education and livelihood support among others to our citizens in line with the mood of the moment.
“We shall also continue to work to reduce social and economic inequality through targeted social programmes and interventions, as well as improved agriculture practiçes.
“On the economic front, our objectives have remained to stablise the micro economy, achieve food security, develop infrastructure, improve governance and improve our public health and safety practiçes.
“It is on the basis of the above that we are launching the Post COVID-19 Intervention Programme to mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic on the economy and the means of livelihood of our citizens”, Oyetola said.
In his welcome remark, the Commissioner for Commerce, Industry, Cooperative and Empowerment, Dr. Bode Olanipekun disclosed that Governor Oyetola, in ensuring that the people live a better life, had conceived the programme since the beginning of the year even before COVID-19 reached Nigeria.
He assured that the programme would be helpful to the people, as the Bank of Industry has agreed to sponsor entrepreneurial development training through Small and Medium Enterprises Development (SMEDAN).
“It gladdens my heart to inform you that the programme is packaged with various vocational and entrepreneurial skill areas which is planned to hold at two locations in each of the senatorial districts in the State, with a view to generating 15,000 direct jobs annually in the State,” Olanipekun added.
Also speaking, the Speaker, Osun House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Timothy Owoeye expressed hope that the initiative would make a huge positive impact in the lives of the people of the State. He commended Mr. Governor for making the life more bearable for the people of Osun.
In her own remarks, the Commissioner for Human Resources and Capacity Building, Alhaja Lateefat Giwa disclosed that Governor Oyetola has approved similar programme for the ministry.
According to her, no fewer than “150 men and women, including people with disabilities will be trained on entrepreneurship. We thank Mr. Governor for supporting us at the ministry to build the capacity of the citizens.”
In the same vein, the State Chairman, All Progressives Congress (APC), Prince Gboyega Famodun appreciated the Governor for making the party proud.
“I like to encourage the collaborative effort between the ministry of commerce and Ministry of Human Resources and Capacity building.
“I want to enjoin the good people of Osun to ensure that their children acquire one skill or another in addition to the western education as this will enable them to survive in the wake of increasing unemployment rate in the country,” Famodun added.
The State manager, Bank of Industry, Mr. Ojo Owuro said Osun is the first the Bank of Industry has partnered with among the states of the federation, adding “Osun is ranked one of the least poor states in Nigeria because the people of the State are hardworking. I’ve moved round all the states in the Southwest, the people of Osun are on top of the list of our customers who pay back their loans.”