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BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Osinbajo Commends Buhari, Uzodimma For Attracting MSME Clinic To Imo

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has commended President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Hope Uzodimma for their efforts in attracting the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Clinic to Imo State.

The National MSME Clinic, an initiative of the Office of the Vice President has successfully been commissioned in Owerri by  Prof. Osibanjo in collaboration with the Imo State government.

Performing the ceremony at the Ahiajoku Convention Centre in Owerri, the Imo State Capital, Prof. Osibanjo said that the clinic entails government providing various equipment,  machines, types of trade facilities among others that are usually expensive to procure by those involved in small businesses because of the high cost of such machines.

“What Government does is to invest in buying the equipment, provide spaces and facilities in that location of the clusters for the trade or businesses and or where there are many people who are engaged in a particular type of business the Government will help them to access the use of such facilities.”

He said the facility commissioned  in Imo State is critical because “the location of the facility by the side of Amakohia market is important because it is within the metropolis and also along the famous Orlu/Owerri road which is the commercial nerve centre of Owerri.”

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In a press statement by Oguwike Nwachuku, Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to the Governor, Prof. Osibanjo told his audience that “the facilities are well equipped and are expected to be used by those who are involved in the production of various garment wears and it is meant to enable them to produce end-to-end.”

The commissioned garment facility comprised about 200 world-class fully automated equipment that can provide services for about 350 small businesses daily.

“To Owerri metropolis and its environs, the facility will be used to carry out several tailoring activities including straight sewing, weaving, embroidery, monograph, and monogram which particularly is very important in the designing of T-shirts and caps  for several thousand in one day.”

The Vice President thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for making the MSME a priority in his administration, by “realising that they are the engine room to economic growth, national income and job creation for the country.”

In the same vein, he commended Governor Uzodimma for his commitment in attracting the facility to Imo State, emphasizing that the facility is in collaboration between the Federal and State governments.  “So the State is expected to work jointly with the Federal Government in other to benefit the people of the State.”

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He called on the people to support the State Government and Federal Government to achieve their laudable objectives and avoid saboteurs.

“Nigeria is our land, we have no other land to call our own.  We must never allow this land to become unruly and ungovernable, we must do our best to ensure peace, and this is the only way to eat the bountiful gift of this land.”

In his address,  Governor Uzodimma described the MSME facility as a salutary signpost of the Shared Prosperity Agenda of his administration and thanked President Mohammadu Buhari and his team for the creative enterprise expressed in the MSME scheme.

He described the project as a “testament of the Federal Government commitment to the development of Imo State.”

“The cardinal objective of the facility is the empowerment of our young men and women and total eradication of poverty in Imo State,”  he said and thanked again  the President and the Vice President for the attention that they have always given to Imo State which he described as “the industrial hub of the South East.”

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He reiterated the several efforts his administration has made towards the revival and recovery of moribund industries which include Adapalm expected to offer employment to 120,000 youths and recovery of Standard Shoe Company targeted at employing 10,000 youths when fully functional.

The Governor pleaded with the Vice President to replicate what he has done with the MSME on the Shoe Industry so that “the industry which is begging for help will be assisted with the necessary equipment for an immediate takeoff.”

The Governor agreed with Prof Osinbajo  that the MSME facility is a “significant effort to reduce unemployment and poverty in our land, engage our youths in productive ventures and make crime unattractive to them.”

On facilities available at the clinic, the Governor noted that there is a 24-hour electricity supply to ensure uninterrupted power and efficient productivity.

He charged the beneficiary to move in with their skills as “their destiny is in their hands,” insisting that “restiveness is a result of lack of job and unemployment.”

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Governor Uzodimma passionately appealed to the Vice President to use his good offices to establish one of the Industrial Training Fund Vocational Centres in Imo State to “help alleviate the problems of those who cannot gain admission into the University.”

He used the opportunity to invite investors to come to Imo State and invest as his government has developed special programmes to facilitate and encourage external investments in the State. They include infancy status that allows for tax holidays and other logistics as well as provision of power by using gas through pipeline to the industrial hub.

He aslo assured that insecurity has been brought to relative management and that his administration will guarantee the provision of security to the investors.

To the Igbo youths, Governor Uzodimma enjoined them not to hesitate to buy into all the available skills of the Federal and State Governments that can better their lives. “They should not allow themselves to be used by the opposition for nefarious activities, they should shun drug abuse, criminality, violence but in all make the fear of God their guide.”

Earlier in her welcome address the Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment Amb. Mariam Katagum thanked Mr. President, the Vice President, and the Governor of Imo State for providing the incentives and conducive environment that enabled the successful commissioning of the facilities in Imo State.

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She explained that the project is to reposition the Commerce, Trade and Investment sector for efficiency and growth.

“The programme is distinct from the norm as it aims at institutionalizing a culture of responsibility and supportive services that improve ease of doing business by entrepreneurs.”

She reinforced the fact that the decision to develop the Owerri fashion and design shared facility is “because of its cosmopolitan nature and geographical proximity bothered by two key commercial centres of Orlu and Owerri.”

She emphasized that the programme is developed to help boost the local productivity of vulnerable MSMEs by lowering production costs.

The event was well attended by top government officials including the chairmen of the 27 LGAs of Imo State,  party faithful, the youths, women, traditional rulers among others.

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BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Aero To Commence Payment To Redundant Employees In Batches

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There are strong indications that Aero Contractors will resume payment to some of its redundant employees by the end of this month.

Comrade Olayinka Abioye, General Secretary of the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), told journalists that the airline would resume paying affected employees in batches.

According to Abioye, the union learned of this earlier this week during a meeting with Aero Contractors management, led by Capt. Ado Sanusi, the airline’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), at the airline’s office at Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos.

Abioye explained that the union reached an agreement with the airline’s management to make payments in April, emphasising that two employees from each of the three unions would be paid monthly.

With this, six members of the affected unions, Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), and NAAPE, will be paid monthly until all backlogs are cleared.

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Abioye stated that with more funding and access to resources, the airline’s current management could improve the airline’s and its employees’ conditions.

He stated: “Aero described its current challenges, which are impeding their willingness to commit more funds to service outstanding redundancy benefits. Second, we have agreed that payments for two people from each of the three unions will be made this month (April), with NAAPE members receiving 75 per cent of these payments.

“We have demonstrated our commitment to Aero’s continued growth, and this has rekindled hope that things can be done better with more funds at their disposal.

“I would like to plead on behalf of the secretariat that, based on our observations of the airline’s current situation, it cannot do any better than what has just been offered. Let us hope that by next month, some other people will have something to smile about.

Sanusi stated earlier this month that it had paid approximately 95% redundancy packages to some of its employees affected by the exercise a few years prior. He promised that the remaining 5% of affected workers would be paid very soon.

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According to him, 225 out of the 237 staff affected by the redundancy package had been paid off, accounting for 94.94 per cent of those affected.

A further breakdown of the affected workers revealed that three members of ATSSSAN and nine members of NAAPE were still affected by the exercise.

Sanusi also lamented in the interview that the operating environment in which the airlines operate was hostile to business, but that despite this, management had been relentless in ensuring that the vast majority of affected individuals received their entitlements.

He assured that Aero Contractors would continue to fulfil its obligations to all employees, but urged that unions not be used to disrupt airline operations.

He stated, “The Company has successfully disbursed redundancy payments to 94.94 per cent of affected employees. Admittedly, we still have financial obligations to a few affected employees.

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“However, plans are underway to offset these costs, and we have been engaging with affected employees to keep them informed of everything the company is doing and going through.”

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OIL & GAS

NNPC, First E&P Achieve 20,000bpd Production At OML 85

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NNPC boss, Mele Kyari

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd) and its joint venture partner in OML 85, First Exploration and Petroleum Development Company Limited (First E&P), have begun producing oil from the asset known as Madu Field.

 

The field, located in shallow waters offshore Bayelsa State and operated by First E&P, is expected to produce an average of 20,000 barrels per day.

 

The achievement demonstrates the President Bola Tinubu administration’s commitment to optimising production from the country’s oil and gas assets by creating an enabling environment for existing and prospective investors.

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Speaking about the development, NNPC Ltd’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr Mele Kyari, described the start of oil production at the Madu Field as a significant milestone that will contribute to the larger goal of meeting the production required to drive revenue growth and boost the country’s economy.

 

Kyari praised stakeholders for their support and explained that the addition of 20,000 barrels per day by an indigenous oil player demonstrates stakeholders’ commitment to Nigeria’s economic development.

 

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The NNPC Ltd/First E&P JV made the Final Investment Decision (FID) on the development of the Madu Field and its sister field, Anyala, in 2018.

 

The Madu Field’s production will be processed at the JV’s Abigail-Joseph Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) Unit, which can store up to 800,000 barrels of crude oil.

 

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BUSINESS & ECONOMY

 FCCPC Storms Masaka Market, Engages With Traders Association, Others Over Hike In Food Prices

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Food market

The enforcement team from the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) on Friday, stormed Masaka market, located in Nasarawa State, and engaged with the executive members of the Market Association, traders and consumers in a bid to stem the rising cost of food items in the market.

Mrs. Boladale Adeyinka, Director, of Surveillance and Investigation, FCCPC, who led the enforcement team to the market located in Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, said the team was on a fact-finding mission to understand why the prices of food items continue to soar despite the measures put in place by the Federal Government to stem it.

Adeyinka explained that recently, Naira has been appreciating against the Dollar, adding that it is expected that this measure would bring down the cost of food items in the market.

Briefing newsmen at the end of the fact-finding mission, Adeyinka explained that the enforcement team of the FCCPC was in the market to interact with executive members of the Traders’ Association, traders and consumers.

She noted that the team of investigators had gathered information on what is responsible for the skyrocketing prices of food items in the market despite the frantic efforts made by the government to stabilise the prices of goods and services.

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She identified multiple taxation imposed on traders by various associations in the market as well as the high cost of transportation as being responsible for the high cost of items in the market.

Adeyinka said a concise report would be developed by the Commission, which would advise the government on how to remove multiple taxation to reduce the prices of food items in the market.

The Director of Surveillance and Investigation further assured that the illegal activities of cartels who often impose levies on the traders would be checkmated.

Also speaking, Danlami Salisi Gimba, General Chairman of, Masaka Market Association, blamed the removal of the fuel subsidy as being responsible for the high cost of goods in the market.

Gimba appealed to the government to reduce the price of fuel to ensure that the cost of transportation is greatly reduced, which would in turn impact positively on the prices of food items.

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Some traders who spoke to our Correspondent decried the high rate of hunger as well as low sales in the market.

They appealed to the government to, as a matter of urgency, bring down the cost of fuel and introduce policies that would create a new lease of life for the citizenry.

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