The Federal Government said it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) to strengthen the capacity of older persons in poverty reduction.
Dr Emem Omokaro, the Director-General, National Senior Citizens Centre (NSCC) disclosed this on Thursday in a statement signed by his Media aide, Mr Omini Oden, in Abuja.
She said that the agreement was specifically designed to enhance the ability of older persons to engage in entrepreneurial ventures to ensure poverty reduction and job creation to guarantee sustainable livelihoods.
According to Omokaro, “the partnership with SMEDAN is a purposeful vehicle that will change negative stereotypes and discrimination against the persons aged from 60 years and above.
“Especially, in the discourse of business development and financial inclusion in Nigeria.
“This MoU will promote financial independence and autonomy of older persons, encourage their healthy and active life style as well as psycho-social harmony for older persons through poverty reduction among senior citizens.
“It will also provide technical support to enable senior citizens access human development services and micro-finance for livelihood development programmes.”
She said the event marked the beginning of a forward leaning partnership where parties could be engaged in meaningful discussions to deliver on the expected targets.
“Where both parties will apply their best to build capacities to understand their intersections in mandates to delivery and set up focal desk officers by identifying, collating and submitting details of potential senior citizens beneficiaries.
“It is also meant to develop livelihood programmes that align with already existing SMEDAN programmes to mainstream senior citizens.”
Omokaro said the two agencies were determined to promote positive changes needed to address perceptions about aged people in the country.
“Especially, the economic development opportunities by investing to enhance the capacities of senior citizens as well as develop and maintain a National Database Management System on older persons.
“As well as to conduct researches for evidence-based policies to strengthen NSCC’s multi-sectoral intervention planning, implementation and coordination capacity,” she added.