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UNDP trains 200 youths, women in vocational skills, SMEs in Ekiti

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The UN Development Programme (UNDP) in its bid to complement government’s efforts of addressing insecurity and unemployment has trained 200 women and youth, victims of violence in different skills acquisition and empowerment in Ekiti.

The UNDP Governance, Peace and Security Team Lead, Mr Matthew Alao, said this at the closing of a two-week orientation programme for the beneficiaries, at National Youth Service Corps, (NYSC) Permanent Orientation Camp, Ise/Orun, Ekiti.

Alao said that the programme facilitated by the UNDP and its partner, the Norwegian government, would help in the prevention of crisis and resolution of conflicts.

The Team Lead said that the platform was aimed at transforming the lives of beneficiaries selected from all the 16 local government areas of Ekiti.

He said that after the orientation programme the participants would still go through a six-month skill acquisition programme in trades and skills of their choice.

According to him, this will help beneficiaries gain lifelong skills and enjoy support for the establishment of small-scale businesses with starter pack grants.

Alao said equipping women and youth with lifelong skills and empowering them would “make them economically viable to contribute meaningfully to the development of their communities, states and country.”

“I am enthused to say that this programme will positively impact on these women and youth and will make them become self-reliant at the completion of the six months acquisition programme,” he said.

According to him, the candidates will begin their six months skill acquisition programme in the first week of June at the Ekiti Board for Technical and Vocational Education, (ESBTVE) Centre in Ekiti.

Speaking, the Ekiti Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mr Femi Ajayi, appreciated the UNDP livelihood scheme, especially because of its impact on crisis prevention and conflict resolution.

Ajayi said that for any meaningful development to occur in any society, efforts must be intensified towards prevention of crisis and resolution of conflicts.

“Business thrives only in societies where peace avails. Nigeria in recent times is faced with a lot of crisis resulting in insecurity thereby being a clog in the wheel of the country’s development.

“You will also agree with me that the effects of these crises have greatly demanded accelerated needs for improved social protection to close the gaps created by the menace.

“And, also to build a sustainable conflict sensitivity mechanism for the prevention of conflict occurrence at all levels of government,” Ajayi said.

According to him, the enrollment of 200 women and youth victims of violent conflicts in different skill acquisition programmes of their choice in Ekiti is part of UNDP’s efforts to ensure that Ekiti is at peace, thereby engendering development.

“Ekiti Government, under the current administration led by Gov. Kayode Fayemi, is well disposed towards development partners among whom is the UNDP.

“Since this government came on board, there have been tremendous and fruitful partnerships with the development partners in the state.

“This government is also committed to creating an enabling environment for intervention of donor agencies towards improving the well-being of the people of  the state.

“Fayemi subscribed to the UNDP programme to promote peaceful coexistence in the state in a bid to making Ekiti indigenes live a life of dignity,” the commissioner added.

The Ekiti Coordinator, NYSC, Mrs Mary Chikezie, urged the participants to see the programme as life time opportunity which should not be handled with levity

She told them that their utilisation of the leadership skills impacted on them through the training would go a long way to help them live a desirable life.

Also speaking, the President of Mediation Training Institute, (MTI-Nigeria), Mr Segun Ogunyannwo, lauded the UNDP initiative which he described as the best option to address the myriad challenges in the country.

He urged the state governors to key into the scheme and replicate the same in their different states to address challenges of security and employment and enhance their efforts of developing and stabilising their states.

He said that such a programme would not only help in job creation and provision of employment opportunities, but would also promote peaceful coexistence in their states and make them live a life of dignity as well.

A participant, Hanna Adebanwo, was full of appreciation to the UNDP for creating the opportunity for the teaming youth and violence victims in the state to learn skills and become entrepreneurs.

Hannah, a graduate of College of Education said that she had been at home for the past five years searching for a job but could not get, adding that the skill and entrepreneur training acquired at the programme would make her start a new life.

Also, another participant, Joseph Oluwabanse, whose family was a victim of herdsmen attack, also thanked UNDP for the training

Joseph, who said he learnt fashion designing, which would be completed in the next six months, said that the knowledge acquired in programme would help stabilize his life after the herdsmen crisis in his village.

He pledged to make use of the skill to positively impact the lives of other youths in his community by encouraging and training them in fashion designing after graduation. (NAN)

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Business & Economy

We Have No Magic Wand, Tackling Inflation Will Take Time — Cardoso

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Yemi Cardoso,CBN Governor
Yemi Cardoso,CBN Governor
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The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Olayemi Cardoso has urged the citizens to be patient over the fight against current inflation and hike in food items in the country.

Cardoso disclosed this while briefing journalists at the end of the Monetary Policy Committee, MPC, meeting in Abuja.

The CBN governor mentioned that there was no magic needed to solve inflation in Nigeria but rather patience.

Also, Cardoso noted that despite pressure from food inflation, the general inflation rate was “moderating”, pointing out that “the tools the Central Bank is using are working”.

He stated, “I have several times and I will say again, there is no magic wand. These are things that need to take their time.

“I am pleased and confident that we are beginning to get some relief and in another couple of months we will see the more positive outcomes from the Central Bank have been doing.”

He added, “The committee thus reiterated several challenges confronting the effective moderation of food inflation to include rising costs of transportation of farm produce, infrastructure- related constraints along the line of distribution network, security challenges in some food producing areas, and exchange rate pass-through to domestic prices for imported food items.

“The MPC urged that more be done to address the security of farming communities to guarantee improved food production in these areas.

“Members further observed the recent volatility in the foreign exchange market, attributing this to seasonal demand, a reflection of the interplay between demand and supply in a freely functioning market system.”

The Central Bank of Nigeria has also blamed the recent volatility of the country’s foreign exchange market on seasonal demand for dollars.

“Members further observed the recent volatility in the foreign exchange market, attributing this to seasonal demand, a reflection of the interplay between demand and supply in a freely functioning market system,” a communique issued by the committee on Tuesday stated.

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Business & Economy

Port Harcourt Refinery Begins Full Operations Next Month

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Port Harcourt Refinery
Port Harcourt Refinery
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The 210,000-barrel-per-day Port Harcourt refinery is expected to commence operations by the end of July, following multiple delays.

National Public Relations Officer of the Independent Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, revealed this new timeline on Monday. He noted that the refinery’s operation would boost economic activities, reduce petroleum product prices, and ensure an adequate supply.

In December last year, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri, announced the mechanical completion and flare start-off of the Port Harcourt refinery, the largest in the region.

The refinery consists of two units: an older plant with a 60,000-barrel-per-day capacity and a newer plant with a 150,000-barrel-per-day capacity. The refinery was shut down in March 2019 for the first phase of repairs after the government enlisted Italy’s Maire Tecnimont as a technical adviser and appointed oil major Eni as a technical adviser.

On March 15, 2024, NNPC Limited’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari, announced that the Port Harcourt refinery would begin operations in about two weeks. He made this statement during a press briefing following his appearance before the Senate Ad hoc committee investigating the various turnaround maintenance projects of the country’s refineries.

“We achieved mechanical completion in December,” Kyari stated. “We now have crude oil stocked in the refinery and are conducting regulatory compliance tests. The Port Harcourt refinery will start within two weeks.”

However, two months later, the refinery had yet to commence operations.

In an interview, IPMAN’s Ukadike emphasized that the work done on the refinery represented a complete overhaul rather than mere rehabilitation. He assured that every effort was being made to meet the July deadline.

Ukadike said, “When we visited, the MD informed us that the refinery was nearly ready and would start production by the end of July. The overhaul is extensive, with all the armoured cables replaced and everything almost brand new. The maintenance turnaround is massive, with work being done day and night. All hands are on deck to meet the target. By the end of July, the refinery should be operational.”

When asked about the government’s previous unfulfilled promises to restart the refinery, Ukadike acknowledged the delays but noted that no reasons were given for missing the last deadline in April

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CBN Halts 0.5% Cybersecurity Levy

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CBN Headquarters Abuja
CBN Headquarters Abuja
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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has withdrawn the circular directing banks to implement a 0.5 per cent cybersecurity levy on electronic transactions in the country.

The CBN announced this in a revised circular dated May 17, 2024.

The circular was addressed to commercial banks, Payment Service Providers (PSPs), non-interest, and merchant banks, among others.

It was signed by the CBN Director of Payment Systems Management, Chibuzor Efobi, and the Director of Financial Policy and Regulation Department, Haruna Mustafa.

The circular read: “The Central Bank of Nigeria circular dated May 6, 2024 (Ref: PSMD/DIR/PUB/LAB/017/004) on the above subject refers.

“Further to this, please be advised that the above-referenced circular is hereby withdrawn.”The withdrawal of the circular on the cybersecurity levy followed its suspension by President Bola Tinubu.

it would be recalls that Tinubu suspended the controversial cybersecurity levy on electronic transfers on May 14.

Minister of Information and National Orientation Mohammed Idris, who made this known while speaking to journalists after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, disclosed that Tinubu directed the CBN to suspend the implementation and review the modalities for the implementation of the levy.

Idris added that the levy was thoroughly discussed at the FEC meeting, saying the president was not oblivious to the feelings of Nigerians.

It would be recalled that CBN, in a circular dated May 6, directed banks to start charging a 0.5 per cent cybersecurity levy on all electronic transfers.

The apex bank stated that the deduction and collection of the cybersecurity levy is a sequel to the enactment of the Cybercrime (prohibition, prevention etc) Amendment Act of 2024.

This was greeted with wide condemnations by Nigerians, with many groups and individuals calling for the immediate reversal of the levy.

The House of Representatives also asked the CBN to withdraw the directive.

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