Oyo State government, on Thursday, disbursed cheques to the ninety-one beneficiaries of the first batch of Graduate Industrial Self Employment Scheme, in the State.
The Commissioner for Ministry of Trade, Industry, Investment, and Cooperatives, Chief Bayo Lawal, while presenting the cheques to beneficiaries, at the Conference Room of the Ministry, explained that the graduate loan was meant to solve unemployment and macro-economic problems at present, and to promote industrial development in the state.
Oyo News reports that Lawal maintained that the scheme would address the development of entrepreneurial skills among the people and encourage self-employment among the youths.
While also maintaining that the scheme will encourage effective utilization of the state’s natural resources, which have hitherto remained undeveloped, he noted that it will ensure general improvement through conservation of foreign exchange earnings.
In his words: “I welcome you all to the presentation of cheques to the first batch of successful applicants under the Graduate Industrial Self Employment Scheme, in the Pacesetter State. I am glad that we are all participants in the process of rejuvenating our economic and agricultural sectors which over the years been in a state of comatose.
“The Nigerian economy has for some time now been running on weak and volatile pillars held by oil and gas. As much as we can boldly say that oil contributes greatly to our national earnings, it will be a bit difficult to state that it has actually contributed much to the progress that a country of our status is expected to have, as much of these earnings are yet to reach a larger percentage of Nigerians.
“We need to evolve an economy that can really feed its people, clothe them, provide shelter, reduce crime by generating employment, and above all, be sustainable. If these are done, the global economic meltdown will have little effect on our economy.
“At this juncture, I wish to state unequivocally that the current administration in the state, as part of its pragrammatic approach to repositioning the State to its pacesetting status, with a view to addressing the development of entrepreneurial skill among the people and encourage self-employment among the youths.
“Industrialization is the wheel of progress and no nation ever prospers without putting the natural resources at its disposal into effective use, hence, the decision to revive and strengthen the ailing Graduate Industrial Self-Employment Scheme.
“To this end, this administration is determined to revive and sustain the Graduate Loan Scheme, which has not been in operation for almost a decade, as a tool for solving unemployment, which is one of the macroeconomic problems at present, and also to promote industrial development in the state.
“You would all agree with me that it is necessary now to promote entrepreneurship in view of the scarcity of white collar jobs, hence the need to search for and manage viable industrial projects for self-sustenance, actualization, and other benefits that include profit making and technological development for the industrial development of the state.”
Similarly,the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice,Prof Oyelowo Oyewo,called on all beneficiaries to reciprocate the gesture by supporting the re-election of governor Seyi Makinde to allow good works to continue in the state.
Speaking earlier at the event, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Trade, Industry, Dr Bunmi Babalola, explained that the scheme will ensure not only the sustenance of the Graduate Loan Scheme but better realization of its objectives in terms of promotion of the industrial development of the state, and entrepreneurial ingenuity of the successful loan applicants.
He added that the scheme will lead to employment generation and a substantial reduction in the search for white collar jobs that are not available for the teeming unemployed graduates.
Lawal, therefore, implored the beneficiaries of the scheme to use the loan judiciously, urging them to repay the loan as and when due to avoid direct deduction from the salaries of those who guaranteed the loan.
Similarly, beneficiaries were admonished to reciprocate the good deeds of the governor Seyi Makinde-led administration, which approved the disbursement of the loan to provide employment opportunities for the unemployed graduates in the state.
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, Mr Oladeji Olayinka, a bakery-owner, and Mrs Ogundijo Kafilat an Adire factory business owner, thanked governor Seyi Makinde for approving the loan for them, saying that it will go a long way in promoting and expanding their businesses.
The duo pledged to utilize the loan judiciously and repay it as and when due.