From Esther Akaa, Lafia
Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa says the state has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Bank of Industry (BOI), aimed at providing soft loans to youths to start up their businesses.
Sule disclosed this Friday at the graduation & certificate presentation on Information and Communication (ICT) and Digital Economy training to Nasarawa State Students’ Association (NASSA), Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) chapter, held in Lafia.
The governor, represented by his Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Youth Affairs, Shuaibu Sani, said the MoU was to enable the youths access a N500 million youth revolving fund scheme to assist them start and expand their businesses.
He noted that, the MoU with BOI became effective after the state government approved the matching fund agreement in the sum of N250 million as counterpart contribution.
According to him, the initiative was in line with his administration’s drive to create wealth, encourage investment and generate employment for citizens of the state, as well as reduce poverty and curb youth restiveness in the society.
The governor called on the youths to develop sound business plans that would enable them to access the loan to start up their businesses.
Speaking on the importance ICT to the development of the economy of the state, Sule noted that the world was revolving round ICT, as well as digital economy, which was in line with the policies and programmes of his administration.
“Our administration is committed to ICT development through training of citizens to equip them with ICT knowledge and digital entrepreneurship that will enable them contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) economy of the state,” he said.
Sule called on the graduands to take the advantage provided by the state government in collaboration with BOI to access the loan, in order to invest and earn a living.
“If you succeed in accessing this loan, I urge you to make judicious use of the money because previous records have shown that when you train participants, give them start up capital, they go and use it for something else,” he said.
The governor reassured them that his administration would continue to provide opportunities for the citizens, especially the youths to become self-reliant.
He, therefore, called on those trained to build on the knowledge gained and take advantage of the state Bureau for Information and Communication Technology (BICT) to learn more skills in ICT.
In a keynote address, the Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Lafia, Prof. Shehu Abdul-Rahman, said that ICT could contribute significantly to the growth of the Nigerian economy if given the required attention.
He said government should remove all inhibiting barriers to IT-based organisations and corporate enterprises, as well as provide digital configuration for all business processes.
The vice chancellor, represented by the Director, Centre for Entrepreneurial Development, FuLafia, Prof. Ilemona Adofu, stressed the need to adopt business transformation procedures based on ICT-driven models that facilitates efficient manufacturing, development, and out-sourcing base in Nigeria’s economic development roadmap.
He, therefore, called on the Federal Government to diversify the economy and promote the ICT industry to play major role in the recovery and sustenance of the ailing national economy for the growth and development of the country.
On his part, the Director General, BICT, Malam Shehu Ibrahim, while congratulating the students for successfully completing their training, urged them to utilise the skills learned, in order to become self-reliant.
He appreciated Governor Sule for sponsoring the programme saying, “I commend the governor’s consistency. This is not the first time and I can assure you that this will not be the last he will be doing for the students.”
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, NASSA President, ABU Zaria chapter, Comrade Is’haq Muhammad, appreciated Governor Sule for the gesture and promised to use the knowledge gained judiciously for the development of the state.
The Voice reports that a laptop was presented to the best graduating student, Elayo Rilwan, while other graduands were presented with certificates at the end of the training.
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