*COVID-19: Osun govt unveils plans to generate 15,000 jobs annually*
As part of its efforts to cushion the socio-economic effects of the Coronavirus pandemic on the State, the State Government of Osun has unveiled plans to generate 15,000 jobs annually through the advancement of vocational and technical trainings.
The government reiterated its determination to resuscitate industrial development, technical and vocational centres in the state in order to strengthen industrialisation, commerce and investment.
It emphasised its commitment to capital development as part of its economic repositioning strategy.
The Commissioner for Commerce, Industry, Cooperatives and Empowerment, Dr. Bode Olaonipekun, disclosed these while addressing the media shortly after a technical meeting he held with the leadership of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN) and the management of the Industrial Development Centre, in Osogbo.
This is even as the training consultant, Mr. Bolaji Jegede, assured the people of the state of his readiness to equip the participants with relevant skills that would make them to be self-employed.
He said: “The target is to ensure that we generate 15,000 jobs annually directly or indirectly as we are confident on the possibility of this because we have a governor who is ready to support us, who is willing to resuscitate the economy and ensure that everyone is okay.
“We will be partnering with the state government to conduct the training ranging from skills acquisition on entrepreneurship training and indeed organising grants and soft loans for the participants.
“We are already discussing with international donor partners to ensure the success of the programme since the essence of the programme is to ensure that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic which is seeing people losing their jobs are reduced,” the training consultant added.
Speaking further, the Commissioner for Commerce, said the initiative was aimed at empowering the residents of the state and generate employment for the unemployed youths.
Olaonipekun who described the move as a way to rejuvenate the economy, said the administration of Governor Oyetola has come up with a modality to stimulate the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic.
He maintained that the present administration had taken human capital development and capacity building as one of its cardinal objectives to reposition the state, and this is evident in the support given to each of the sectors.
In his words: “This is a post-pandemic initiative to revive the economy and we are here particularly to address one of the focal areas of this administration – to rejuvenate the economy and empower the citizens.
“The motive behind this initiative is to build minds that would be self-employed and employers of labour. Apart from having a degree, one must be able to have other things doing to support his or her income.
“The Governor deemed it fit to put a post pandemic strategy in place in which people who have lost their jobs or whose businesses had been badly affected due to the pandemic would have something like a spring board to aid their rise.
“Anyone affected by the Coronavirus pandemic would have a sort of soft landing to come back to their feet.
“We have put in place certain training programmes by which within one to three months, a person would have learnt a vocation that he can live on and that can sustain him for a lifetime, even without any monthly salaries.
“To achieve this, the state government has some managed funds through the Bank of Industry to support the graduands after the training. Putting all of these together would help our youths, particularly those that are affected by the pandemic, to begin a new life”, he added.
On the strength of this disclosure, Olaonipekun appealed to the youths of the State of Osun to subscribe to the initiative as soon as it takes off.
The Southwest Zonal Coordinator of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN), Mr. Gbenga Ogundeji, acknowledged the commitment of the state government to empower the people of the state.
He commended the initiative which he described as one capable of taking people out of poverty, joblessness and idleness.
“We are in Osun to see to the growth and development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in Osun as part of efforts to serve humanity.
“We are here also to serve the people, create employment opportunities and make them to be bosses in their own rights. With the proposed training, the participants are expected to be able to employ others. They would be self-employed, self-reliant and employers of labour in their various areas of specialisation.
“We have collaborated with the state government to revive the economy by ensuring that the facilities at this centre are put to good use, and with the zeal from the government, we are confident that the dreams would be actualised.
“As we all know, the essence of this place is to train people on vocational skills, so that after the training, they will be self-employed and self-reliant”, he said.