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LASG short-term empowerment programme hits 11,251 beneficiaries

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By Moses Adeniyi

Number of beneficiaries who have benefitted from the Lagos State Government’s (LASG) Short-Term Skills, Training Acquisition and Empowerment programme has hit no less than 11,251 as at the third quarter (Q3) of 2022, since its inception in 2019 – Nigerian NewsDirect has learnt.

The beneficiaries who obtained the training skills on various vocations, across the available centres, in the five divisions of the state, were empowered with kits for start-up, upon graduation from the free training period.

The programme, which has recorded over 11,251 graduands between 2019 and 2022, extends its reach to women and youths, including faith-based organisation in the five divisions of the state.

In Q3, 2023, 250 beneficiaries are being trained at each of the identified centres.

The short-term programme being conducted every three months, affords trainees on skills acquisition in Events Decoration, Tie & Dye, Catering and confectioneries, Gele Tying and Make-Up Application, Ankara Craft and Leather Works, Hair Dressing and Wig making, Fabrics Stoning and Embellishments, Throw Pillow making and Interior Decorations, Production of Soap and Pomade and household Products, as well as Tie and Dye Adire making.

At the closing ceremony of a 4-week Short-term Skills Acquisition Training organised by the State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA) for participants in Command Ipaja and its Environments, Agbado-Okeodo, Local Council Development Area, Alimosho Local Government, Lagos, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA) said with the dearth of “white-collar” jobs amidst the prevailing economic conditions in the Country, the State Government has recognised the essence of vocational trainings to curb unemployment for economic viability.

“The Lagos State Government has embarked on vocational trainings for women, men and youths as a means to curb unemployment and empower citizens towards self-reliance with bid to achieve a viable economy. One of such socio-economic intervention programmes, is the 4 Weeks Short-term Skills Acquisition programme,” she said.

Applauding the large turn-out of the participants, she said “the programme is a socio-economic intervention which is directed at financial sustainability and progress. There is a dearth of white collar jobs that are seriously going into extinction.”

According to her, it was in realisation of this that “the Lagos State Government established 19 functional Skills Acquisition Centres, with 20 vocations being taught at these centres that are  situated across the state.”

She mentioned that an additional centre yet-to-be commissioned centres at Agidingbi Road, Ikeja and one more Centre at Ibeshe, would take course soon, “hence, creating an avenue of self-sustainability for  the  Lagos citizenry.”

According to her, communities which have been reached in the 4-week trainings include: Agege, Orile-Agege, Iba, Oto-Awori, Mushin, Odi-Olowo, Iru, Ajido – Badagry, Ibeju – Lekki, Ikosi – Ejiirin, Epe, Ebute -Metta, Ikeja, Irewe in Ojo Local Government ,as well as Topo – Badagry,  settlements of the State.

“This also includes trainings and empowerment for Islamic and Christian based faith groups, Wives of Military officers, Wives of Civil Servants official, (COWLSO), People Living With Disabilities, Retiring Public Servants, People Living With Human Immunodeficiency Virus, People Living With Sickle Cell Anemia, SUBEB  Parents-of-out-School Students, NASFAT, as well as Internally Displaced People,” she added.

The Commissioner who was represented by the Deputy Director, Women Affairs, WAPA, Mrs. Bode Onidoyin, said the empowerment was strategic to socio-economic development as a strategy to tackle poverty.

According to her, the State Government having recognised the prevailing economic circumstances, has acknowledged the significance of women empowerment.

“The present administration under the able leadership of Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu has taken women empowerment as one of its focal policies, in order to mitigate the effects of poverty prevalence amongst women,” Dada said.

According to her,  the objective to empower women was “for upliftment of their status from state of dependency to resourcefulness in providing the needs of their respective families.”

Dada said the state has zero tolerance for idleness and mediocrity, but “encourages productivity, and the ideals of financial sustainability, with a focus on self dependence.”

She called, particularly, on “unemployed persons, the under-employed and those who are still patiently waiting for white collar jobs, to utilise these opportunities by learning at least a vocation to become self-dependent,” saying “Lagos State Government has zero tolerance to idleness in any form.”

She said testimonies of beneficiaries who are thriving in their vocations approve the significance and value of the programme.

“I will like to inform this gathering, that following the success stories of these trainings, several letters of recommendations have been flowing in, one of such letters is appreciation Letter from the Management of Lekki Worldwide Investment Limited, stating that amongst the recently concluded Short -Term Skills Acquisition and Empowerment programme, six of such beneficiaries are doing very well in their craftsmanship with the aid of the  free work tools by MWAPA,” she said.

In his remark, representative of all the CDAs around Ajosepo environment, Pastor M.O. Ogunleye, said the effort was a reflection of good leadership, appreciating the Governor and the Commissioner for the empowerment.

He said the measure was a rare opportunity and dividend of democracy, requesting that “they expect more,”  to lift youths, women and the vulnerable from lack to self sufficiency.

He charged the beneficiaries “not to bury the talent as the biblical illustration of the man who buried his talent.”

“Go and utilise it, this is a rare opportunity,” he said.

A beneficiary, Odunayo Celestina, said it was a wonderful empowerment which would remain with the participants, as it would serve as new way for many graduates who have not been able to get white collar jobs to get on with vocations to utilise their potentials.

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FG to provide solar subsidy in Nigeria through $750m World Bank loan

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The federal government plans to provide subsidy to developers and operators of solar mini-grids in unserved and underserved areas in the country.

The subsidy will be provided through a World Bank approved loan of $750 million under the Distributed Access through Renewable Energy Scale-up (DARES) project.

This was disclosed in the financing agreement for the loan project.

The financing agreement for the loan was signed by the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, on March 31, 2024, and World Bank’s Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, on February 19, 2024.

The loan project is fundamentally aimed at augmenting the supply of electricity to both households and micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) through a surge in private sector-led distributed renewable energy initiatives.

The document noted that the loan will be partly used to provide “Support to the development and operation of privately owned and operated solar hybrid mini grids in unserved and underserved areas through: 1.1. Minimum Subsidy Tender Carrying out of Minimum Subsidy Tender processes and provision of Minimum Capital Cost Subsidies to selected developers/operators of: (a) Isolated mini grids; (b) Interconnected mini grids; or (c) Solar rooftop solutions in Participating States.”

Asides from providing subsidy, the federal government plans to also provide performance-based grants.

The document noted that there will be “Provision of Performance-Based Grants to eligible mini grid operators based on new customer connections for isolated mini grids and percentage of capital expenditures for interconnected mini grid projects.”

The grant will also cover Standalone Solar (SAS) Systems for Households, MSMEs, and Agribusinesses. This grant will provide “Support to the expansion of SAS systems for households, MSMEs, and agribusinesses in rural areas through: 2.1. Performance Based Grants for Standalone Solar Provision of Performance Based Grants (‘PBGs’) to eligible companies to rapidly deploy SAS solutions in rural and underserved areas, through supply and demand side support and based on independently verified outputs, and to support deployment of solar productive use of electricity (PUE) equipment to MSMEs, agribusinesses and commercial customers.”

There will also be “Catalytic Grants Provision of Catalytic Grants, on a matching basis, to eligible SAS companies that target the poor, remote, or hardest to reach consumers in the country.”

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IMF charges banks to guide against cyber attacks

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…As hackers make off with $12bn

Following reports that cyber thieves stole $12bn from global financial institutions in the last 20 years, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has called on Central Banks across the globe and financial institutions to strengthen resilience in the financial sector by developing an adequate national cybersecurity strategy accompanied by effective regulation and supervisory capacity.

This was contained in the April 2024 Rising Cyber Threats Pose Serious Concerns for Financial Stability report released by The Bretton Wood institution.

The report noted that greater digitalization and heightened geopolitical tensions imply that the risk of a cyberattack with systemic consequences has risen

The fund expressed concern that the rising incidents of cyberattacks on financial institutions globally could affect confidence in the financial system and destabilise economies while expressing worries that cyberattacks have more than doubled since the pandemic.

“Financial firms have reported significant direct losses, totaling almost $12 billion since 2004 and $2.5 billion since 2020,” the IMF stated.

According to the body, financial firms, given the large amounts of sensitive data and transactions they handle, are often targeted by criminals seeking to steal money or disrupt economic activity.

“Attacks on financial firms account for nearly one-fifth of the total, of which banks are the most exposed. Incidents in the financial sector could threaten financial and economic stability if they erode confidence in the financial system, disrupt critical services, or cause spillovers to other institutions.

“Cyber incidents that disrupt critical services like payment networks could also severely affect economic activity. For example, a December attack at the Central Bank of Lesotho disrupted the national payment system, preventing transactions by domestic banks,” IMF stated.

As part of measures proposed to guide against the attacks, the fund called for the periodic assessment of the cybersecurity landscape and identifying potential systemic risks from interconnectedness and concentrations, including from third-party service providers.

It further called for the encouragement of cyber “maturity” among financial sector firms, including board-level access to cybersecurity expertise, as supported by the chapter’s analysis which suggests that better cyber-related governance may reduce cyber risk.

Improving cyber hygiene of firms—that is, their online security and system health (such as antimalware and multifactor authentication)—and training and awareness.

Prioritising data reporting and collection of cyber incidents, and sharing information among financial sector participants to enhance their collective preparedness.

Noting that attacks often emanate from outside a financial firm’s home country and proceeds can be routed across borders, the IMF said international cooperation has also become imperative to address cyber risk successfully.

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Keyamo reacts as Gatwick Airport posts Air Peace inaugural London flight

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The Minister for Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo has reacted to the post made by Gatwick Airport on the inaugural London flight of Nigerian carrier Air Peace.

There had been several reactions since the airport failed to post the inaugural flight of the airline sparking various reactions.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Keyamo said, “Finally! Thank you @Gatwick_Airport. We expected this on the first day of the arrival of one of our most important local airlines @flyairpeace, but better late than never. We look forward to working with you to ensure seamless operations by @flyairpeace from your airport. The Government of Nigeria fully supports our local operators.”

In its congratulatory message, the Airline wrote: “Exciting news! We recently welcomed Nigerian carrier @flyairpeace to the London Gatwick family, flying daily to Lagos.

“Perfect for reconnecting with friends and loved ones or for business travellers, embark on your next journey from London Gatwick to Lagos with Air Peace. Book your flights today: gatwk.uk/3Jb1Slu.

“And doesn’t the livery look great on the aircraft as it came under our Pier 6 bridge on its first arrival?! Big thank you to lgw.luke on Instagram for this fantastic video!”

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