Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has presented entrepreneurship tools to another set of 850 skills acquisition trainees.
The Bayelsa governor presented the starter packs to the second batch of the Douye Diri Skills Acquisition and Empowerment Programme on Thursday at the DSP Alamieyeseigha Banquet Hall in Yenagoa.
No fewer than 1,664 beneficiaries have so far been trained under the scheme in the last one year.
Addressing the trainees during the graduation ceremony, Senator Diri charged them to utilise the training to empower themselves economically and become employers of labour.
His Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, in a statement, quoted the governor as describing the participants as torchbearers of his Prosperity Administration and directed the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment to engage additional 800 trainees for the scheme.
Diri, who said the training would be continuous, urged operators of the programme to monitor the progress of the beneficiaries and make periodic reports to his office.
His words: “This graduation ceremony has proven that Bayelsans are industrious, committed and brilliant people. You have been taught various trades. Rather than go to seek handouts, you are now independent and can employ others and add value to Bayelsa.
“While we build the roads and other projects, we will not forget to build the capacity of our youths. You are the torchbearers of the Prosperity Administration.”
The governor commended the participants for comporting themselves during the training, noting that his administration had opened the floodgates of opportunities for them to excel in various trades.
He said with such skills acquisition schemes in place, Bayelsa was moving away from consumption to a productive economy.
“Our problem is that we are a consuming nation. But we are moving away from consuming to a producing state and we are happy with you. Let us not be a state that imports everything but we should also export our products to other states. Be diligent about your work and your work will speak for you.”
The governor directed that the programme should not be politicised and that selection of beneficiaries should not be based on party affiliation as every youth in the state was first a Bayelsan before their party preferences.
In his speech, the Commissioner for Trade, Industry and Investment, Federal Otokito, said the beneficiaries were trained in nine skill areas including fashion designing, shoe-making, solar energy installation and repairs, catering and paint making.
Otokito thanked the governor for putting in place empowerment programmes to build the capacity of Bayelsans in order to grow the local economy.
Also, a director in the Centre for Women Development representing Southern Ijaw Constituency 4, Mrs. Charity Godwin, said she initiated and operated the skills acquisition centre before the governor took over the scheme.
Mrs. Godwin expressed gratitude to Senator Diri for his humane gesture as well as providing starter packs to the trainees.
In their goodwill messages, Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Abraham Ingobere, and a retired Permanent Secretary and former Director of Protocol, Mr. Joseph Akedesuo, applauded the state government for improving the economic wellbeing of Bayelsans.
Responding on behalf of other beneficiaries, Mrs Profit Abeki from Kolokuma/Opokuma and Rosemary Anthony from Southern Ijaw local government areas said the scheme was a testimony that Bayelsans were capable of developing themselves.