The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Naval Doctrine Command, Rear Adm. Akinga Ayafa, has said skills acquisition is one of the guaranteed ways to economic growth and prosperity of the nation.
Ayafa said this during the Graduation Ceremony for participants of the Nigerian Armed Forces Resettlement Centre Officers Wives Association (NAFRCOWA) skills acquisition and empowerment programme, held at Oshodi, Lagos, recently.
The Tide source reports that the programme started with 48 participants comprising widows and wives of Nigerian Armed Forces Resettlement Centre (NAFRC) personnel and youths residing within the Centre.
The programme, which was conducted over a period of 12 weeks, focused on four areas of specialisation – leather works (shoe and bag making); hairstyling and makeup; soap and cosmetics; and baking (catering services).
The FOC said the nation was faced with several challenges, ranging from insecurity, unemployment and low economic growth amongst others, adding that the importance of skills acquisition in Nigeria could not be over emphasised.
“The phenomenon of skills acquisition has gained unique significance because of its role in socio-economic development of the nation as the driving force in economic growth and job creation.
“One of the major causes of our low economic growth can be attributed to lack of relevant skills among the citizens, leading to over dependency on foreign-made products.
“One good thing about skills acquisition either vocational or technical is that, it has no age limit and everyone has equal opportunity to strive in the open market,” he said.
Ayafa, who was also the Special Guest of Honour, observed that even when people with some of these skills were available, they were grossly inadequate in number to meet the national market demand.
“Therefore, the skills anyone acquires differentiates them from any other person irrespective of their higher academic qualifications or attainment.
“You have been empowered to take up the challenge of alleviating the problems of unemployment in our nation.
“You must take up this challenge by putting into good use the knowledge gained through the establishment of small and medium scale enterprises that will create employment opportunities,” he said.
The FOC also said the skills acquired by the graduating participants could have come with huge financial implication if they had undertaken the training in a private skills acquisition institution.
According to him, the financial implication was taken care of by the Centre through NAFRCOWA as part of the association’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
“I, therefore, urge you to be passionate, dedicated and innovative in your chosen vocations and ensure that this investment by NAFRCOWA does not go in vain,” he said.
CBN Sensitises Marketers, Guarantees New Notes Availability
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has assured marketers and traders that it has made the redesigned naira notes (1000, 500, 200) available for them via Automated Teller Machines (ATMs).
The Branch Controller, CBN, Lagos State, Mr Koyor Baribokola, gave the assurance when the apex bank took its sensitisation tour on the new naira notes to Balogun Market, Lagos.
He said the apex bank initially had a challenge as people were not depositing the old notes, but the situation had changed.
“We are having much deposits now; this gives us the confidence to push more new notes into circulation and into the economy.
“We set a date for the deadline for the complete change over that is Jan. 31, and for now, that stands. We have not extended or changed the time.
“So, between now and the Jan. 31, all the old 1,000, 500 and 200 notes you have in your possession, bring it to the bank and then take new ones,” Baribokola said.
He encouraged stakeholders to be the apex bank’s mouthpiece by spreading the message, and to protect and keep the new notes safe.
“Please have the assurance that the new naira notes were redesigned in the interest of all Nigerians including you so that you have them and you enjoy spending them and keep them safe, and as much as possible, try and also do electronic transactions.
“We encourage people to use our e-channels to do transfers, to spend, to buy and to do all that you need to do to share with your friends and your families,” he stressed.
The Head of Union Homes Success Market, Oloyeola Bisi Balogun, commended the apex bank for choosing to begin its sensitisation with the traders.
She, however, urged the bank to carry out more awareness campaigns on the new notes, particularly at the grassroots.
According to her, there are many people who are yet to see the new notes. “Let them relate more with the grassroots because the percentage of the people at the grassroots is more than those people in urban areas.
“The CBN has tried to improve the economy through the redesigned notes but we all know that in Nigeria when something is introduced newly, there’s bound to be complaints.
“We also had the same complaints when the old notes that we are used to now, were first introduced,” she said.
Mr Amos Adamu, a dealer in suitcases, who saw the new notes for the first time, said “I have never seen the new notes but if the redesigned notes can make Nigeria a better place for the masses, I support it.
Also, Mrs Rebecca Ukachi, a trader, said though she disliked the new notes because they looked like fake notes, she would collect them whenever customers bring them to buy goods from her.
“Let us be sincere, the new notes look fake but I do not have an option, I will collect it because it is legally acceptable, but I still prefer the old notes because of the quality,” she said.
Reports say that the redesigned notes – 1,000, 500 and 200 notes came into use on Dec. 15, 2022.
Bayelsa Trains 100 Schoolgirls On Technology Entrepreneurship
Bayelsa State Government has commenced training of 100 girls selected from its model secondary schools on technology entrepreneurship.
Speaking at the opening of the three-month training in Yenagoa, the Executive Secretary of Bayelsa Education Development Trust Fund (EDTF), Mrs Alice Atuwo, said the programme would enable the participants to deploy technology in solving problems.
Atuwo said EDTF had earlier organised training on Coding and Robotics for 103 students in SS I and SS II classes during the summer camping programme in October 2022.
According to her, the current programme, which is free of charge, is being funded by Odyssey Educational Foundation.
“After participating in a technovation programme like this, it will arouse your interest in technology leadership.
“A greater percentage of you, the beneficiaries, will enroll in more computer-related courses in your respective schools.
“Others can go on to develop business plans which you can present at business events, meet with world business leaders and eventually start your own businesses.
“You can also go on to support the next cohorts of technovation girls in return. The end result is that technovation changes girls/students’ lives for good and the society is better for it.
“This is what Odyssey Education Foundation is introducing to 100 girls in our model secondary schools,” she said.
Atuwo expressed appreciation to the foundation, considering the fact that jobs were scarce and most secondary school leavers were unemployable.
She urged the participants to take the training seriously, stating that some mentors would meet with them in their schools.
Atuwo noted that since 2010, more than 39,000 girls from more than 100 countries had gone through technovation programmes and had learnt how to create “Apps” to solve various problems and/or produce mobile app startups.
She appealed to parents and leaders of various organisations to encourage and support the girls in any way to succeed and become proud members of their families, communities and the state.
Speaking earlier, the Programme Director of Odyssey Educational Foundation, Stella Uzockukwu-Dennis, said that the training was aimed at bringing the state up to date with the constantly-changing digital world.
She said that the programme would provide technological knowledge, adding that it was for those between the ages of eight and 18.
The programme director said that it would also allow the beneficiaries to solve problems, using technology and make money as well as develop business plans and how to start them.
On his part, the Commissioner for Education, Mr Gentle Emelah, said that the programme would make the girl- child in the state to be a breadwinner in her family.
Emelah urged the trainees to take advantage of the training which, he said, would be a life changer, adding that government was interested in their future and wellbeing.
PoS Operators Task CBN, Telecoms Coys On Uninterrupted Service
Point of Sale Operators (PoS) and traders in Lagos have appealed to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and telecoms companies to ensure uninterrupted service.
The stakeholders made the observation in an interview with The Tide’s source recently in Lagos.
According to them, it is important to have PoS machines that function well in view of the apex bank’s directive on withdrawal limits.
They advised the authority to restore people’s confidence in the use of PoS to enable them remain in business.
Reports say that the apex bank had in a new circular increased the maximum weekly limit for cash withdrawal across all channels, with effect from Jan. 9.
The new policy limits weekly cash withdrawal to N500,000 and N5 million for individuals and corporate bodies, respectively.
A trader in Oshodi Market, Lagos, Mr Divine Pataya, said with the new policy and network disruptions, he did not think that he could continue with the business.
“When PoS started, a lot of banks used it to support us; I have four PoS machines from four different banks, but I had to dump three because I do not get instant alerts on transactions done through the machines.
“For instance, if I have 10 customers buy from me and make payment with the PoS, their money will not come on that day until the next day.
“When it eventually comes, it will be difficult for me to know who paid what because it will all come in bulk,” he said.
Another operator, Mrs Uchechi Tunji, said several times, money had been wrongly deducted from her account through PoS.
“When you go to your bank to lodge the complaints, the bank will tell you that there is an intermediary that is looking into it. Sometimes it takes six months to get back your money.
“I think the CBN has a lot of work to do on that, and if the machines that are outside are not good, they need to give us good and effective ones, as we cannot go to the bank to withdraw a lot of cash again,” she said.
Another PoS operator, Alhaja Rekiyat Suleiman, said poor network had made her to lose a lot of customers.
“They get angry and embarrassed whenever I ask them to wait a while, for me to receive transaction alerts from my bank before they leave with their goods or money.
“I am not enjoying any of the three PoS machines in my store because of failed transactions due to bad network service.
The problem is that when customers pay with PoS, the receipts will be printed out and handed to them.
“For the next one hour, you will not receive transaction alert, and you will not want to release the goods.
“This has really affected my business, it is painful and embarrassing to the customer and has made people not to trust the system,” Suleiman said.
Meanwhile, Mrs Zainab Abdulmumini from the Consumer Protection Department, CBN, had said during a sensitisation tour of Balogun Market, Lagos, that the core function of the CBN was to promote a sound financial system.
She said the duty of the Consumer Protection Department of the CBN was to protect consumers and traders, and to also ensure that they were not being exploited by their banks.
According to her, three divisions in Consumer Protection Department are being saddled with the responsibility of educating the people: Consumer Education Division, Complaint Management Division and the Market Conduct Division.
“So, the first thing to do when you have a transaction issue is to meet your bank, tell them your problem and ensure you have a tracking ID from your bank.
“If your bank is not really doing anything about it, or your bank has done something about it and you are not okay with it, come to CBN’s Consumer Protection Department,” said Abdulmumini.
She said that accessing the Consumer Protection Department was not difficult, as, “You can reach them by sending a mail to CPD@cbn.gov.ng, or walk into any CBN branch in the country.
“You have a right to walk into the Information and Client Office to lodge complaints, you can write a letter to the Director, Consumer Protection Department, submit it in Abuja or in any branch of your choice, it will be handled free of charge”.
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