A Skill-Novation Programme, which aims to equip over three million Nigerians with the fundamental digital skills they need to succeed in the global economy, was inaugurated on Friday by the Federal Government and Wema Bank ALAT. A statement released on Friday by Stanley Nkwocha, the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Communications, detailed the program’s plans to build 15 cutting-edge ICT centres across the country to provide citizens and businesses with access to modern digital education, resources, and support. The first phase of the plan would target states like Katsina, Anambra, Borno, Lagos, Oyo, and Kano, as stated in a statement headlined “Over 3M MSMEs to benefit as Nigeria launches FG/ALAT Skill-Novation.”
States like Delta, Kaduna, Ogun, Bauchi, Kwara, and Ekiti will be involved in the second phase. Nkwocha explained that this is being done to facilitate the IT revolution, which will increase the range of economic and social contacts and the rate of productivity growth in Nigeria. The launch came 11 days after the WEMA Bank, in conjunction with the Office of the Vice President, announced that it had finalised arrangements to initiate the FGN-ALAT Digital Skill-Novation Programme, which would empower one million Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises across the country.
The country must adopt the evolving disruptive technologies.
Vice President Kashim Shettima spoke at the program’s launch on Friday in the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja, praising the project as a “transformative initiative” that “ushers in a new era of digital empowerment for” Nigerians. He explained that the world has progressed to a point where they have no choice but to take this course of action to adapt to the evolving standards set by the disruptive technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This programme is a direct result of changes in the current business climate, a recognition that technological literacy is essential to the success of any modern economy.
Furthermore, he suggested that this was the first of many such events to demonstrate President Bola Tinubu’s dedication to helping Nigeria small businesses. Shettima gave an overview of the potential benefits of the plan for Nigeria, noting that the country’s rapidly growing MSME sector of close to 40 million has the ability to lead business innovation outside Africa. The Skillnovation Programme is trying to tap into this enormous potential. The goal of the programme is to help the country’s MSMEs grow and compete successfully on a global scale.
Nobody will be left out or be at a disadvantage in this initiative.
Additionally, the VP assured the citizens that nobody, regardless of age, gender, or disability, would be excluded from the Skill-Novation Programme. No particular group will be at a disadvantage when it comes to having access to this opportunity. According to what he explained, the youth, women, and individuals with disabilities have found friends and supporters, and they would be given preference in the planned single-digit loan schemes for the esteemed MSMEs. Discussions are already in progress for these loan schemes with the Bank of Industry and other essential stakeholders and partners.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Temitola Adekunle-Johnson, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Job Creation and MSMEs, underlined the importance of the collaboration, adding that the government alone cannot handle the difficulties affecting Nigerians. Also, Wema Bank’s Managing Director, Mr. Moruf Oseni, praised Tinubu and Shettima for their commitment to youth empowerment, and he revealed plans to open training centres in 17 states, starting with Lagos and Borno. He said that two million young people and one million small businesses in the states stand to benefit directly from the initiative.
Private sector needs to work more closely with the government.
Lastly, Mr. Bosun Tijani, the Minister of Communications and the Digital Economy, on his part urged the private sector to work more closely with the government towards accomplishing its job creation goals. Similarly, Sokoto state’s governor, Ahmad Aliyu, also expressed his commitment to the initiative. Attendees included Hadiza Balarabe of Kaduna, Deputy Governors Umar Kadafur of Borno, Onyeka Ibezim of Anambra, and Aminu Usman of Jigawa in addition to the Minister of Labour and Employment Simon Lalong as well as the Minister of Agriculture Sen. Abubakar Kyari.
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