The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN), has inaugurated modern Moringa Tea/Oil processing facility for Women Economic Empowerment Initiative (WEEI) in Taraba. The Director-General of the agency, Dr Dikko Radda disclosed this on Saturday in Jalingo. According to him, the One Local Government One Programme (OLOP) initiated by SMEDAN has impacted more than 336 enterprises in Nigeria and created employment for over 10,000 persons. He explained that data from the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment had shown that more than 37.07 million Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) accounted for over 84 per cent of jobs in the country.
“The National Bureau of Statistics in its data revealed that unemployment rate as at the second quarter of 2020 is 27.1 per cent, indicating that 12.7 million Nigerians remain unemployed. This has been of concern to President Muhammadu Buhari’s government which had initiated many programmes to uplift more than 100 million Nigerians from poverty level,” he said.
“… jobs for more than 1, 000 youths…”
“The OLOP programme emphasises bottom-top development approach and the expected value-addition is achieved through processing using modern production technologies, quality control through relevant certifications or licenses and product branding for domestic and foreign markets.”
He said inauguration of the Moringa Tea/Oil Modern facility was in line with the core mandate of the agency to serve as a vanguard for rural industrialisation, poverty reduction, job creation and enhancement of livelihoods. He said that three businesses had been empowered in the state to create jobs for more than 1, 000 youths. He explained that the Buhari’s administration was leaving no stone unturned for agro-business developments, especially as it concerned the MSMEs sector, calling on the beneficiaries to engage in digital marketing to promote their products in the competitive market.
Gov. Darius Ishaku who was represented by the Commissioner of Commerce, Alhaji Tanimu Njeke expressed readiness to partner with the agency to develop small and medium scale industries in Taraba. “Taraba government has wholeheartedly subscribed to this idea which informs our resolve to strengthen the state agency on Small and Medium Scale Enterprises,” he said.
In her remarks, the State Coordinator/CEO of Women Economic Empowerment initiative (WEEI) Dr Mary Paninga thanked the Federal Government for the initiative. She, however, called for more empowerment projects in the state to lift youths and women out of poverty. She disclosed that SMEDAN had provided her organisation with capacity building and technical support to implement the programme in the state.