By Deborah Oladejo, Osogbo
Osun State Governor, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola, on Thursday said his administration had adopted a proactive strategy to stimulate the economy of the State that had hitherto been adversely affected by coronavirus pandemic.
He said before the advent of coronavirus, the administration had put in place a workable strategy and proactive measures by making Skills Upgrade training a priority in the 2020 Budget as part of efforts to take care of the extant global economic downturn and prepare for worst circumstances that might arise.
This is even as the Governor presented cash as seed loans to 2,000 successful trainees of Skills Upgrade and Entrepreneurship Training Programme under the Post-Covid-19 Economic Strategy Pilot Training Programme of the State government.
Oyetola who spoke at the graduation ceremony of the first batch of the participants of the Post Covid-19 Economic Strategy Pilot Training Programme held in Osogbo, said the Skills Upgrade and Entrepreneurship Training Programme was designed to generate 15,000 direct and indirect sustainable job opportunities for the people annually.
The Governor who said the training programme was a swift response to the challenges brought about by the novel Covid-19 pandemic, said it was designed to provide participants who were adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic with skills upgrade training to make them relevant in the new normal necessitated by the Post Covid-19 pandemic.
He said his administration had set aside a sum of ₦100million for disbursement to beneficiaries of the scheme as seed loans of ₦100,000 only to each participant.
“Year 2020 was indeed a challenging year for the world economy as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, which badly affected corporate and personal businesses as well as the financial and socio-economic systems of the world. Osun was no exception.
“As an institution charged with providing security and welfare for citizens, our government, on coming to office two years ago during the world economic downturn, adopted a proactive strategy to prepare for the situation and worst circumstances that might arise.
“We adopted a proactive measure by making Skills Upgrade training a priority in the 2020 Budget even before the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic. This initiative came handy when Covid-19 locked-down world economy and scrapped people’s means of livelihood.
“We were, therefore, able to leverage on this existing project to provide sustainable jobs for our people whose jobs or businesses were affected negatively by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Under the Skills Upgrade training programme, we were able to re-focus, re-engineer and expand the scope, knowledge and relevance of artisans and people who lost their jobs to make them relevant under the new normal orchestrated by Covid-19.
“This Skills Upgrade strategy has strengthened our drive to ensure that majority of our people are self-reliant.
“We were also able to sustain the provision of social and welfare services, food security, healthcare, education and sustainable means of livelihood for our citizens during the period under reference.”
He urged the beneficiaries to utilise the skills and knowledge acquired in the course of the programme positively to add value to themselves and to enable them to compete favourably in the industrial and commercial sectors.