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SMEDAN trains secondary, primary school teachers on entrepreneurship in Kaduna



The Small, Medium, Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) in partnership with the Kaduna State Government, on Tuesday began a two-day training of teachers of entrepreneurship  in secondary and primary schools.

The training is on entrepreneurship in the state.

The entrepreneurship teachers cut across the 23 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state.

The capacity building for the teachers was under the SMEDAN’s Mind Shift Entrepreneurship (MEP) Programme.

The MEP is designed to engage vibrant students and youths, to channel their skills into productive venture creation and management of their own businesses.

In his address, the Director-General of SMEDAN, Mr Olawale Fasanya, said the programme was designed to enhance the capacity of the teachers, who would in turn, prepare the pupils, students and convert them into entrepreneurs.

Fasanya was represented by Dr. Yinka Fisher, Deputy Director, Partnership and Coordination Department of the agency.

He stressed that there was a lot of anxiety and uncertainty among Nigerian students about their future, following  the dearth of opportunities in the employment market and their lack of entrepreneurial skills to go into new business ventures.

“The World Bank recently predicted that there will be additional injection of 40 million people joining the economically active group by 2040 in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Given the most promising economic performance within the region, there is no way regular employment will cope with this number of people entering the unemployment market,” he said.

Fasanya stated that the imperative was to support young people with education and training that would promote employment generation and wealth creation.

“The programme is to provide access to functional and hands-on entrepreneurship and financial literacy and community service education to every primary and secondary student in Nigeria.

“The MEP Programme is driven through two National School Entrepreneurship Programme (N-SEP) for primary and secondary schools and Tertiary Institution Entrepreneurship Development programme (TINEDEP).

“We have gotten the buy-in of the universities, polytechnics, Colleges of Education and regulatory authorities such as NUC, NBTE and NCCE have endorsed the programme,” Fasanya said.

He said entrepreneurship teachers must be entrepreneurs themselves, because one could not give what he did not have.

“The agency has carefully designed teacher’s manual to guide them on how to hand-hold the pupils and students towards entrepreneurial journey.

“The teacher’s manual is provided to assist entrepreneurship into the pupils and students, to guide and assist teachers in inculcating the culture and spirit of teaching of the business of entrepreneurship,” he said.

Fasanya urged the Kaduna government to take ownership of the programme and step it down to all primary and secondary schools in the state.

Also, Gov. Nasir El- Rufai commended SMEDAN for the MEP programme, noting that the training would enhance the teachers’ capacity on entrepreneurship, which would be impacted to the students.

The governor, represented by Dr. Yusuf Saleh, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Business Innovation and Technology, said Nigeria’s population was on the increase on a daily basis and the nation, unable  to afford employment for all graduates.

He said the state government was working on introducing technical education at the  primary school level, to catch them at a young age.

“We are in partnership with AKK gas pipeline project to see how we can train our young people on welding and fabrication; we are also in collaboration with agricultural organisation, among others, on training of our young people.

“We also organise trainings to promote what our medium, small and micro enterprises producers are doing,” he said.

The Governor urged  SMEDAN to partner with the newly-established  Senior Secondary Schools Education Commission,  to enable expansion of the programme to other states.

Also, the Principal of Rimi College, Mr. Andrew Dodo, said most students often had the mindset and ambition of working in big offices and government parastatals.

He said with the realities on ground, the students needed to be updated and trained on entrepreneurship skills, to make them self-reliant and independent at the advent of population increase, which translated to job scarcity.

“We are, for long, supposed to be teaching our children on what they will contribute to our country; if they think otherwise, we will continue to be battling with unemployment as a nation,” Dodo said.


NIMASA, MWUN dialogue on fate of disengaged NNSL seafarers



By Seun Ibiyemi

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, and the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN have begun discussions on how to resolve the lingering issue of terminal benefits of Seafarers whose appointments were terminated due to the liquidation of the defunct Nigerian National Shipping Line, NNSL.

The Director General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir JamohOFR, and the Vice President of the Nigerian Labour Congress who is also the President General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, jointly announced an agreement for physical verification of the affected seafarers/next of kin as the case may apply; the nature of appointment of all affected seafarers, and the exact amount due each beneficiary.

The NIMASA DG also assured the Union that their position will be communicated to the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, to ensure the Government takes all necessary actions to bring to a conclusion the issue of NNSL.

“The issue of industrial harmony in the maritime sector is of uttermost interest to our administration at NIMASA. We have been at this for a while. NIMASA had offered N100 million as settlement, which the Union declined.

“We have also discovered that some of those demanding settlement did not even have any employment letter. We will follow the lead from our supervising Ministry and ensure the physical verification exercise is brought to a logical conclusion. Our Honourable Minister will be duly updated by the Agency. I look forward to closing this issue in months to come,” the DG said.

On his part, the President General, Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN) Comrade Adeyanju restated the commitment of the Union to peaceful resolution of disputes; to ensure the rights and privileges of workers are well protected, without disrupting productivity in the Maritime Sector. He commended the Jamoh led Management at NIMASA,urging others to follow suit.

“I would like to commend NIMASA under Dr Jamoh, for the unflinching commitment to industrial harmony. He is always a phone call away to resolve any issue. Yes, NIMASA offered N100 million to offset the terminal benefits.

“However, if others like Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigerian Shippers Council and the rest also add funds, there will be enough to go round the expected beneficiaries. As we did for dockworkers when a flat rate of two hundred thousand was paid during port concession; that is what we want, putting into consideration the realities on ground now.”

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COP28: Airtel Africa calls for enabling policy environment, collaboration for climate action in Africa



The Group CEO of Airtel Africa plc, Segun Ogunsanya, has reiterated the importance of an enabling policy environment for sustainable development and climate action in partnership with Africa’s private sector at COP28.

Mr. Ogunsanya, a member of the United Nations Global Compact’s African Business Leaders Coalition (ABLC), addressed a distinguished audience at a COP28 side event co-hosted by Airtel Africa and the ABLC.

Guests included the President of Botswana, His Excellency Mokgweetsi Masisi; the Finance Minister of Nigeria, Mr. Wale Edun; the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Nigeria, Mr. Nyesom Wike; Ms. Sanda Ojiambo, the Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC); Chairman of BUA Group Nigeria limited, Abdul Samad Rabiu and several business leaders from across Africa.

The Group CEO of Airtel Africa urged African business leaders and governments to join forces to advance sustainable growth, development, and prosperity across the continent.

He said, “We stress the importance of an enabling policy environment for sustainable development and climate action in partnership with Africa’s private sector. Livelihood and living must go together.”

He also shared details of Airtel Africa’s environmental stewardship initiatives. These include ‘Project Green,’ launched in 2022, and focused on circular economy practices, especially in the responsible replacement of end-of-life equipment to minimise potential adverse environmental impacts.

Furthermore, in March 2023, Airtel Africa joined the multi-stakeholder partnership to eliminate open waste burning from Africa. This collaborative effort with local authorities, private companies, community groups, civil society and development partners targets a 60 percent reduction by 2030 and complete elimination of open waste burning by 2040.

Mr. Ogunsanya declared, “Airtel Africa’s corporate purpose, our driving force, is to ‘transform lives.’ This is not simply a slogan but a genuine passion that informs every aspect of our operations and every decision we take.”

He concluded, “It is our firm belief that African businesses, including Airtel Africa, stand ready to leverage global markets to accelerate the transition to a future-fit economy. We must deliver economic development, inclusive growth and GHG emissions reduction at the same time to enjoy the fruits of sustainability.”

The United Nations African Business Leaders Coalition (ABLC) is a collaborative initiative comprising African business CEOs committed to fostering sustainable growth, prosperity, and development throughout the African continent.

Members in the coalition, including Airtel Africa, committed to escalating the adoption of renewable energy, investing in climate-adaptation solutions, and ensuring an equitable transition. During COP28, the ABLC released a policy recommendation urging governments to establish conducive regulatory frameworks that facilitate collective climate action.

The recommendation further advocates for the setting of decarbonization targets and the acceleration of initiatives such as green minerals and climate adaptation programs and calls for increased access to climate financing to support these endeavors.

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Non-Interest Financing critical to funding amidst high debt service levels — Wale Edun



By Matthew Denis

The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun has stated that the country needs Non-Interest Financing  as a critical sector towards funding as the country is faced with high levels of debt servicing.

The Minister’s disclosure at the SEC Nigeria-Islamic Financial Service Board (IFSB) International Forum held in Abuja on Wednesday.

He said, “Non-interest financing is a critical part of funding and that is because as we all know, we are faced with three crises right now which are the climate, and biodiversity but there is also a debt crisis in major countries and of course, the available solution is non-debt, equity and financing mechanisms that will eliminate the pains of paying interest on loans. Rather, it is better to have a participatory opportunity that equity and non-interest finance gives.

“And so what we are saying here is a critical piece of the solution to the crises of the world currently, including the fact that for the rapid and inclusive growth this administration desires, we need to have green projects so we don’t only need to have projects funded by equity.

“As we all know, our debt service levels and revenue to debt service ratio are so high and currently constrained.”

The Minister stressed that there is fiscal exhaustion in many parts of the world and there is also a need to finance green projects.

“So the only way to grow our economy is not just relying on foreign direct investments, and domestic investments but tap into the world of non-interest financing.”

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