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NDE empowers 228 unemployed persons with N22.8m to start agric businesses



The National Directorate of Employment (NDE) has empowered 228 unemployed persons with N22.8 million to set up and manage small-scale agricultural enterprises in their chosen areas in the country.

The Director-General (DG) of the Agency, Mallam Abubakar Nuhu Fikpo, made the disclosure in Enugu on Friday while disbursing the facility to the beneficiaries.

The DG, represented by the NDE Enugu State Coordinator, Mr Eugene Agu, said that these prospective beneficiaries were drawn from a pool of persons, trained by the department of the Rural Employment Promotion (REP) in 12 states, including Enugu.

Agu said, under the scheme, 228 beneficiaries were empowered in the country with the sum of N22,800,000 to enable them set up and manage small-scale agricultural enterprises in their chosen areas of interest to become self reliant, create wealth and generate employment opportunities for others.

He said out of the 288 beneficiaries in the country, 19 persons were empowered in Enugu with the sum of N100,000 each.

Fikpo congratulated the beneficiaries in Enugu and 11 other states where this ceremony had also taken place.

He said in driving this policy, the NDE identified a lot of demand-driven labour intensive skills in technical, vocational, domestic, entrepreneurial and agricultural enterprises to close the skills gap that exists among young unemployed graduates and school leavers searching for employment.

The Directorate had over the years, vigorously pursued its mandate through a series of employment generation initiatives.

“It has remained focused, proactive and poised to continue to sustain the fight against unemployment through the promotion of self-employment initiatives, attitudinal change and counseling to achieve its vision of jobs for all.

“The REP Department, through its strategy of training in modern Agricultural skills and empowerment in agribusiness engagements, is one of the core Programme departments saddled with the responsibility of generating employment opportunities in the agricultural sector for the unemployed youth in Nigeria.

“The programme trains unemployed youth in the agricultural value chain activities in production, storage, processing, preservation, packaging and other innovative and technologically-driven skills in the agricultural sector.

“Today, we are here to flag-off the disbursement of loans to 228 beneficiaries under the 2023 sustainable Agricultural Development and Empowerment Scheme.

“Let me remind the beneficiaries to see this gesture as a rare opportunity which should not be allowed to fail. Remember that with the loan facility, you have been doubly empowered,” he explained.

He explained that the loan empowerment provided them with the required finances for entrepreneurship, urging them to justify these efforts by putting in their best to succeed and repay the loan in due time so that other unemployed youths would also benefit.

Fikpo encouraged all well-meaning Nigerians to partner with the NDE for the benefit of the unemployed in their mist.

Also speaking, the Director, Rural Employment Promotion Department, Mr Duke Eden, said that the department was implementing the 2023 sustainable agricultural development and empowerment scheme (SADES) for the NDE-trained youth.

Eden explained that the programme would create employment and generate wealth that would go a long way in reducing the number of unemployed persons in the country.

He advised the beneficiaries on the effective utilisation of the loans which would be disbursed to them through their banks.

He appreciated the Director-General of the NDE for graciously approving the disbursement of the loan in 12 states of the federation, noting that in May this year, the same exercise took place in 12 other states and the FCT.

Ifeoma Aka

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