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Shettima: FG Committed to Creating Inclusive Economy, Prosperous Nigeria

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

Vice President Kashim Shettima yesterday reaffirmed federal government’s commitment to creating an inclusive economy and prosperous Nigeria, using the empowerment of youth, and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) as one of its strategies.
The Vice President was speaking in Abuja when Wema Bank’s ALAT, in conjunction with the federal government launched Skillnovation, a programme aimed at supporting information technology revolution that would, in turn, extend the reach of economic and social interactions, as well as enhance productivity in Nigeria.

The initiative will provide over three million Nigerians with essential digital skills required to succeed in the global economy.
Shettima described Skillnovation as a transformative initiative that will usher in a new era of digital empowerment for Nigerians.
He said: “We are compelled to tread this path by the direction in which the world has headed, a world of disruptive technologies redefined by the fourth Industrial Revolution.

“This initiative is a response to the evolution of the modern business environment, an acknowledgment that digital skills have become the cornerstone of economic ease and expansion.”
Shettima hinted that the gathering was one of the many to come and an occasion to reassure the nation that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is fully committed to supporting small businesses across Nigeria.

Giving an insight into how the country would benefit from the programme, the Vice President said, “Nigeria, with its expanding MSME sector of close to 40 million, has the potential to lead business innovation beyond Africa. The Skillnovation Programme, therefore, aims to unlock this immense potential. The initiative is designed to provide the necessary tools and skills for our MSMEs to thrive and compete on the global stage.

“As you have witnessed, ladies and gentlemen, the Skillnovation Programme is not a mere promise; it is a resounding commitment to the Nigerian people.
“It’s in pursuit of this administration’s resolve to empower our youth and MSMEs and to create a more inclusive and prosperous Nigeria. Today, we are translating that commitment into action, and we intend to be your allies in your race to take over the world through your enhanced skills.”
Shetimma also assured that nobody would be left out of the Skillnovation, regardless of age, gender, or disability.

“There will be no disadvantaged demographic in accessing this opportunity. Our youth, women, and persons with disabilities have found friends and allies and will be favored in our proposed single-digit loan schemes for our valued MSMEs, for which talks are already ongoing with the Bank of Industry and other critical stakeholders and partners.
“The Skillnovation is a significant step towards achieving the federal government’s vision of a digitally empowered and economically prosperous Nigeria. By providing MSMEs with the essential digital skills and support they need to succeed, the programme will help to create jobs, boost economic growth, and improve the lives of millions of Nigerians,” he said.

The Skillnovation will establish 15 state-of-the-art ICT centres, strategically placed across Nigeria, to provide individuals and businesses alike with access to cutting-edge digital training, resources, and support.
The first phase of the programme will focus on Katsina, Anambra, Borno, Lagos, Oyo, and Kano states, while the second phase will include Delta, Kaduna, Ogun, Bauchi, Kwara, and Ekiti states.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Job Creation and MSMEs, Mr Temitola Adekunle-Johnson, emphasised the significance of partnership, noting that the government alone cannot address the challenges confronting Nigerians.
On his part, the Managing Director of Wema Bank, Mr Moruf Oseni, commended the passion of the President and the Vice President for empowering young Nigerians, even as he announced the establishment of skills training centres across 17 states, beginning with Lagos and Borno.

He said the programme will directly impact two million youths and one million small businesses across the benefitting states.
Oseni expressed optimism that the scheme will be impactful, particularly empowering young Nigerians and preparing them for the challenges of the future.
In his goodwill message, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr Bosun Tijjani, said President Tinubu’s administration will leverage the enthusiasm of youths in the technology space to launch Nigeria as a global power in the sector.
He called on other private sectors to collaborate more with the government to actualise the objectives of job creation.
Also speaking, Governor Ahmad Aliyu of Sokoto State pledged the state government’s support for the success of the programme.