Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
First City Monument Bank (FCMB) has earmarked N1 billion for the empowerment of youths in Abia state as part of efforts to inspire them to realise their potentials and become successful entrepreneurs.
Executive director, business development, Mrs. Bukola Smith made this known in a recent chat with journalists at Umuahia during the maiden edition of Abia Youth Mega Summit.
She said FCMB was desirous of giving Nigerian youths the needed push to excel in whatever skill and talent they possess hence the bank was always ready to partner state governments to engender entrepreneurship among youths.
“The youths have to be empowered in order to become productive citizens,” she said, adding that FCMB remains the only bank that focuses its interest on youth empowerment.
According to the executive director, apart from the financial empowerment the bank also offers training and advisory services, mentorship to enable them become successful entrepreneurs and employers of labour.
“It’s not impossible to see the next Aliko Dangote in Abia state,” Smith predicted, noting that Abia youths were already expressing their creative energies in the commercial city of Aba where small and medium scale enterprises are flourishing.
The youth summit which drew hundreds of youths across Abia also featured exhibitions of the creativity of youths as they displayed various products they produced with their acquired skills.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu in his address at the youth event with theme: ‘A productive Engagement for Impact; Igniting Youth Entrepreneurship’ reiterated his government’s desire to encourage youth development.
In order to create more employment opportunities for youths Ikpeazu said all the hurdles such as years of experience syndrome that hinder youth employment in both the public and private sectors of the economy should be removed.
“If I’m asked to make one appeal to all arms of government in Nigeria on behalf of the youths, my appeal will be that we should banish years of experience as precondition for recruitment in various government offices,” he stated.
In a keynote address he presented at the summit, the Director General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brig Gen Sulaiman Kazuare noted that the nation has achieved meaningful development in terms of industrial and economic growth without encouraging skill acquisition and enterprise promotion.
He therefore urged policy makers to focus more attention on empowering Nigerian youths with the needed skills to enable them realise their creative potentials and contribute to national development.
“I think enough is not being done to empower the youth segment of the Nigerian population because policy formulation and corresponding actions have been left only in the hands of government for too long”, he said.