Seriki Adinoyi in Jos
The Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong has stated that the desire of the administration to address youth empowerment and employment as part of government’s commitment to reduce poverty among youths in the state.
Lalong, who disclosed this recently in Jos during the inauguration of the third phase of Simon Lalong Empowerment Scheme (SLEMS), said he has not disappointed the people in the area of empowerment.
He also noted that the establishment of the Plateau State Microfinance, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (PLASMEDA) through an Executive Bill, was a clear pointer in that regard.
He added that over 2,000 market women and traders were recently engaged in the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme (GEEP), which enabled them to access micro-credit facilities to grow their businesses.
“Announcing that very soon another batch of 2,000 will benefit from same facility, the Governor also said he was pleased that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in collaboration with PLASMEDA has mobilised over 1,000 Agric Businesses and SMEs in the state to benefit from the CBN’s Agric Small and Medium Enterprise Scheme (AGSMEIS) loan facility,” he noted.
Lalong, explained that under the first phase of SLEMS that captured 3,000 participants, over 100 inputs were donated to the best three graduating participants across the various skills in all 17 Local Government Areas (LGAs), including women, youth, and people living with disabilities.
The governor further noted that in the second phase of SLEMS over 3,400 participants were captured with another 200 youths trained under the National Industrial Skill Development Programme (NISDP) in collaboration with the Industrial Training Fund (ITF).
According to him, “Plateau State SME was recognised and awarded the overall best in the country this year. This was made possible through the support and encouragement of PLASMEDA which culminated in a giant leap to national recognition. We have also inaugurating 4,500 youths for the third phase.”
Lalong, therefore offered the owner of the SME, Mr. Jerry Mallo a three-bedroom bungalow for making the state proud by winning the award.
He also gave a car gift to his father, noting that the gesture was to encourage other youths and young entrepreneurs to strive for the best in their endeavours.
The governor also offered a groundnut seller, Mrs. Abigail, a tricycle and the sum of N150, 000 to enhance her business.
The Director of PLASMEDA, Mr. Haggai Haruna Gutap, Chairman, Plateau Youth Council, Dr. Jemchang Forbon, Traditional and Religious leaders lauded the state governor for his gesture towards youth empowerment.