By Ugonne Uzoma
Owerri – The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) on Tuesday began specialised skills development programme for 40 retirees in Imo.
The SMEDAN Director General, Mr Olawale Fasanya, who started the programme on Tuesday in Owerri, said it was aimed to promote skills development and financial independence among retirees.
Fasanya who was represented by the Assistant Director, Enterprise Development and Promotion, Mr Tunde Oloidi, said the programme would be on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME).
He said this would not only alleviate poverty but also promote self-reliance.
He added that the programme would enhance participants’ engagement in productive ventures as they would be provided with starter packs in vulcanising and food processing at the end of the training.
Oloidi noted that the decision to focus on food processing and vulcanising stemmed from the assessment exercise conducted by the state manager of the agency.
“It is a programme designed to provide entrepreneurship skills, refresher vocational skills and provision of empowerment materials to fill capacity gaps of the target group.
“This will ensure they earn income through filling the artisanal gap in Nigeria and consequently promote skills development among retirees,” he said.
He further commended the state Governor, Hope Uzodimma, for providing an enabling environment for MSMEs to thrive in the state.
Also, Mr Paul Ozumba, the Commissioner for Labour, Productivity and Employment, commended SMEDAN for promoting job creation and empowerment in the state.
Ozumba, who was represented by Mr Kelechi Ekomaru, a staff of the ministry also commended the agency for including Imo in the programme and urged beneficiaries to make the most of the opportunity.
Earlier, the state Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners, Dr Josiah Ugochukwu, said the programme was a welcome innovation and perfect for pensioners.
He said most pensioners had nothing to fall back on after retirement and as such, would greatly benefit from the programme.
“This is a well thought out programme and it is a welcome development; most of us have been idle because we have nothing to fall back on after retirement.
“This will go a long way in alleviating the idleness while giving us a chance to earn a little more in addition to our pension and help us with our responsibilities,” he said.(NAN)