Minister of Steel Development, Shuaibu Audu, has stressed the need to resuscitate the Ajaokuta Steel Company.
He affirmed his commitment to restoring the moribund steel plant during a press briefing in Abuja on Monday.
Audu disclosed that among other things, he will set a roadmap for the development of the steel sector, aggressively pursue the completion of Ajaokuta steel, and enact required bills to regulate the steel sector.
“Our past leaders recognised the importance of steel development but lacked the political will to achieve its objectives.
“The steel development is synonymous with the Ajaokuta Steel plant, whose commencement has been over 40 years ago. We aim to start the engine and ensure that we produce at least a small sheet of steel within this administration.
“It is a known fact that steel is the bedrock of any nation’s development. If gotten right, it may be the beginning of our industrial revolution”, he said.
The Tide’s source recently reported that the Federal Government allocated over N3bn to cover personnel costs at the Ajaokuta Steel Company each year from 2016 to 2023.
Between 2016 and 2023, a total of N29.35bn has been allocated to cover personnel costs for the Ajaokuta Steel Complex.
Despite the regular budget, the steel company is yet to commence full operations in over 42 years, with the government making failed attempts at privatisation and concession.
The source also reported that the Federal Government paid a total of $446m to clear off a judgment debt on the Ajaokuta Steel Company.
Audu further disclosed that the creation of the new ministry underscored President Bola Tinubu’s mandate in pursuing the nation’s overall development.
In his remarks, Minister of Solid Minerals, Dele Alake, charged the staff members to be result-oriented in order to achieve the presidential mandate for the sector.
According to him, the oil-producing industry, which has been a significant source of foreign exchange for the government, has been on a downward trend.
“Knowing that the oil-producing industry is on downward trend, the following fundamental economic growth trend is solid minerals. And this sector has caused so much international trade warfare.
“Given the sector’s importance to the President, he sent me here as someone he knows very well to drive his agenda in this ministry.
IHS Trains Youths On SMEs Management
IHS Nigeria has completed its training programme for over 25 young individuals in Yaba Local Government Area of Lagos State, as part of its “IHS Project Empower” initiative.
This effort was designed to empower them with the skills needed to establish small-scale businesses.
The event took place recently at Yaba LCDA in Lagos.
In his keynote address, the Associate Director, Government Relations IHS Nigeria Limited, Bond Abbe, said, “Based on our belief that entrepreneurship drives a nation’s growth, we have developed the IHS Project Empower, as one of our sustainability initiatives, to serve as proof of our unwavering commitment to nurturing entrepreneurial spirit for the betterment of our nation, which is in alignment with one of our sustainability pillars, education and economic growth.
“Our main aim is to create an environment where entrepreneurship can thrive through acquisition training, funding, mentorship, and support to help young adults turn their ideas into successful businesses through the IHS Project Empower”
According to him, the empowerment programme had provided training to over 2,929 young entrepreneurs and innovators, offered grants to 95 young entrepreneurs in 13 states of Nigeria, and, as a result, created 768 new jobs.
He added that this had positively impacted the lives of over 701,688 people across Nigeria.
FG, Bank To Train 2m Youths On Digital Skills
In furtherance to its pledge to support the job creation agenda of the President Bola Tinubu administration, WEMA Bank, in partnership with the Office of the Vice President, has concluded arrangements to commence an initiative that will impact two million youths and one million Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) across the country.
The Vice President, Kashim Shettima, who received an update report on the programme on Monday during a courtesy visit by the Managing Director of WEMA Bank, Moruf Oseni, lauded the commitment and partnership of the bank for the initiative.
The delegation was at the Presidential Villa in Abuja to brief the Vice President on the progress made in the implementation of the FGN-ALAT Digital Skill-Novation Programme, an initiative of a partnership between the Federal Government and WEMA Bank to train two million youths and empower one million MSMEs across Nigeria.
Speaking on the support and commitment of the bank in the execution of the initiative, the VP in a statement by his media office said: “I will call on you to be above board. You are a good organization.
“I want to thank you most sincerely for your initiative and commitment, be rest assured that we will fulfill our own part of the bargain”.
Speaking to State House correspondents later in an interview, the MD of WEMA Bank, Mr Moruf Oseni, said they were at the Presidential Villa to brief the Vice President on “how far we have gone on the FGN/ALAT project.
“Vice President was very happy, and shortly you will hear from his office of how we want to progress with this programme. Part of this is to help create innovation hubs across the country for us.
“Mr President came out with a very bold and audacious plan on how to revive the Nigerian economy. The banks are a key player and we will put in our best to actualize this.
“If Nigeria does well, the financial institutions will do well. Mr. President is 100% on track and we are totally in support of his administration”.
On his part, Mr Temitola Adekunle-Johnson, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Job Creation and MSMEs, emphasised the significance of collaboration, noting that “there is power in partnership. Private sector and the public sector coming together can always do more for the people.
“Mr. President’s ‘Renewed Hope’ agenda cannot be achieved by the government or private sector alone as it requires all hands on deck.
“So, we dug deep into the private sector to see how they can actually play their own role. In the first instance they agreed to partner with us on skills acquisition and in other aspects of the scheme that we plan to implement”.
The FGN/ALAT Digital Skill-Novation Programme will be formally launched by the Vice President on the 29th of September at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja.
Also present at the meeting were Mr Tunde Mabawonko, Executive Director, WEMA Bank; Mr Bamidele Adefemi, Head of Federal Public Sector, and Mr Chioma Onuaguluchi, Regional Executive, Abuja.
Revamp Technical, Skills Acquisition Centres – CEO
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of I-Contact Connect Limited, Port Harcourt, Dr. Larry-Goodwill Ajiola, has reiterated the need for the Rivers State Government to urgently revamp technical and vocational training centres for skills acquisition in the state.
Dr. Ajiola, a United Nations Eminent Peace Ambassador, said skills development for decent work and livelihood is key to sustainable peace and stability of any nation, stressing that “equipping youths with relevant knowledge and right attitude to work will make them self-sufficient and not depend on white collar jobs which are not even available”.
Ajiola, who noted the high rate of unemployment among the youths in the state, attributed the alarming result to government’s neglect of technical and vocational education centers.
He also noted the need for companies sited in different communities to use this in empowering the indeginous youths in their areas, adding that lthis will go a long way in bringing lasting peace in the working environment and society at large.
He, therefore, called on the State Government to urgently revamp all the neglected technical and vocational centres and make them functional for the teeming youths of the state who desire to acquire skills that will make them self-employed and contribute their quota to the socio-economic development of the state.
He also encouraged the youths to make moves in contacting and dialoguing with the companies in their dormains on educational and vocational acquisition, warning against the quest for money, which, he noted, would be spent within few days.
Amb. Ajiola also noted the need for local government chairmen to collaborate with companies in their communities and empower their wards through skill acquisition.
By: Lilian Peters
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