The Oyo State government has trained no fewer than 400 graduates on the need to get themselves equipped and be grounded in entrepreneurship development.
The state government in a release signed and made available to newsmen by the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Hon Wasiu Olatunbosun; maintained that it has on Wednesday trained over 400 applicants under the Graduate Industrial Self Employment Loan Scheme (GISES)on Entrepreneurial Development Programme (EDP) with the aim of developing the capacity of the applicants in relation to required skills and knowledge with focus on the areas of feasibility study writing and small scale industry management.
“This, is in line with the best global practices to guide the applicants for the loan scheme and their business plans as the oyo State government will empower qualified applicants with five hundred thousand naira loan (#500,000)”, he stated.
Declaring the training opened at the House of Chiefs, Secretariat, Ibadan, the Honourable Commissioner for Trade, Industry, Investment and Cooperatives, Chief Bayo Lawal said Entrepreneurial Development Programme is to create a congenial environment for the youths in order to contribute their quota in revamping the economy through diversification by concentrating on non-oil sector, thereby adding value to natural products through industrialisation.
Chief Lawal who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr ‘Bunmi Babalola lauded the magnanimity of Governor ‘Seyi Makinde in its determination to reposition Oyo State by reviewing the industrial policy of the state to facilitate the development of entrepreneurial skill among the youths, self employment, encourage effective utilisation of the state’s natural resources and also ensure general improvement through conservation of foreign exchange earnings.
He also applauded Governor ‘Seyi Makinde for approving special fund to assist youths in the manufacturing and service sectors among others.
Lawal noted that, the Graduate Loan Scheme which has not been in operation for many years is undoubtedly one of the veritable tools for solving unemployment which has become endemic in the country.
“Let me tell you that this programme is not a scam. The governor insisted that we must do it because part of his programme is that the youths can be engaged by providing soft loans for them so that they can start being entrepreneurs when they still have the energy and the mindset of succeeding.
“It is a soft loan scheme which is revolving and the maximum to be given is #500,000, though we have seen some of the applicants that say they do not need up to that, we have a competent technical committee comprising members from Manufactures Association of Nigeria (MAN), Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Oyo State Council of Chambers of Commerce (OYCCIMA), Nigeria Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI) & Ibadan Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture to assess the feasibility reports.
“It is not a matter of over quoting or under quoting, we want people who can key into this particular scheme,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Chief Lawal admonished them to make judicious use of the loan by investing into areas where they have comparative advantage and competency as would be reflected in their business plans, adding that, they should not see the loan as a largesse that will go down the drains.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Director Industry, Engr (Mrs) Mojeedat Olanrewaju said unemployment is one of the causes of the pervasive insecurity in the country.
She noted that globally, Nano, Micro, Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (NMSMEs) serve as vehicles of employment creation, self employment, improved internally generated revenue and crime reduction, and also instruments of youth employment in both rural and urban areas.
She added that accessing the loan by the applicants will be determined by the quality of the feasibility study report submitted .
The resource persons, a Production Engineer/ Industrialist and a Chartered Accountant: Engr. Mukaila Oladipo and Mr Olufisayo Akintunde, respectively trained the applicants on project implementation and preparation of feasibility report.
In the meantime, one of the applicants, Mr Albert Oyelami on behalf of others expressed gratitude to Governor ‘Seyi Makinde for the programme and hopes that the loan will be disbursed very soon.