The Oyo State Government has trained over 400 applicants under the Graduate Industrial Self Employment Loan Scheme (GISES) on Entrepreneurial Development Programme (EDP).
The aim of the programme, is to develop the capacity of the applicants in relation to required skills and knowledge, focusing on the areas of feasibility study writing and small scale industry management.
The government said it would empower qualified applicants with N500, 000 loan, in line with best global practices, to guide the applicants for the loan scheme and their business plans.
Declaring the training open in Ibadan, the state capital, the Commissioner for Trade, Industry, Investment and Cooperatives, Bayo Lawal, said Entrepreneurial Development Programme is to create a congenial environment for the youths so they can contribute their quota to revamping the economy through diversification and concentration on non-oil sector, thereby adding value to natural products through industrialisation.
Lawal, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr ‘Bunmi Babalola, lauded the magnanimity of Governor Seyi Makinde in his determination to reposition Oyo State by reviewing the industrial policy of the state to facilitate the development of entrepreneurial skills and self-employment among the youths.
He also appreciated Governor Makinde for encouraging effective utilisation of the state’s natural resources, ensuring general improvement through conservation of fereign exchange earnings and approving special funds to assist youths in the manufacturing and service sectors, among others.
Lawal noted that the Graduate Loan Scheme, which had not been in operation for many years, was undoubtedly one of the veritable tools for solving unemployment, which had become endemic in the country.
He affirmed that the programme was not a scam but an initiative insisted on by the governor to provide the revolving soft loan for youths so they could become entrepreneurs when they still had the energy and the mindset of succeeding.
He stated: “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 Manufacturers 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.
Lawal admonished the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the loan by investing into areas where they had comparative advantage and competency as would be reflected in their business plans, saying they should not see the loan as a largesse that will go down the drains.
Earlier, in her welcome address, the Director, Industry, Mrs Mojeedat Olanrewaju, disclosed that unemployment is one of the causes of the pervasive insecurity in the country.
She said globally, Nano, Micro, Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (nMSMEs) serve as vehicles of employment creation, self-employment, improved internally generated revenue and crime reduction and instruments of youth employment in both rural and urban areas, adding that accessing the loan by the applicants would be determined by the quality of the feasibility study report submitted.
The resource persons, a Production Engineer/ Industrialist, Engr Mukaila Oladipo and a Chartered Accountant, Mr Olufisayo Akintunde, trained the applicants on project implementation and preparation of feasibility report.
One of the applicants, Mr Albert Oyelami, on behalf of others expressed gratitude to Governor Seyi Makinde for the programme and hope that the loan would be disbursed very soon.