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UDUAGHAN COMMISSIONS DELTA SME ENTREPRENEURSHIP CENTER

David Diai

msmThe multi-million dollar Delta State Micro, Small and Medium Entrepreneurship Centre has been commissioned by Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan.

Governor Uduaghan commissioned the sprawling project centre, spanning more two hectares of land at Issele-Uku, Aniocha North local government area of Delta State on Monday, May 25, 2015, in the presence of officials of United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Federal Institute of Industrial Research (FIIRO), traditional rulers, top politicians and other captains of industry as well as the entrepreneurs in the Micro Credit scheme of the Delta State government.

Dr. Uduagha, who immediately on arrival at the project centre, undertook a tour of the micro and small businesses fair that had been set out to display the products of the various beneficiaries of the highly successful Delta State Micro credit programme, including Palm Oil and Pine Apples farmers, Hats, beads and fashioner designers, Palm wine tappers, weavers of the traditional akwa-ocha and the Akara (Bean cake) and Ukpo-Ogede (Plantain pudding) confectioneries, amongst others, stated that the project was designed to help achieve the Delta Beyond Oil initiative of his administration.

According to the Delta Governor, “Our micro credit scheme which we started in 2007 has started to yield fruits. Our intention with Delta Beyond Oil initiative is to have a lot of industries that will keep the people positively engaged. We believe that with our micro credit programme, we can build industries and diversy our economy from its over dependence on oil,” he said.

The Delta Governor, who once again commended the youths of Issele-Uku for not disrupting the project, added that projects executed by his administration were well intentioned and in the interest of the people.

He said, “I pray that other youths in the state emulate the youths of this community for government projects to go on smoothly, we know that most times, the youths benefit more from the projects.”

He then commended UNIDO for the progressive partnership with the Delta State government, which led to the fruition of the project, even as he noted that UNIDO will concentrate on leather works and shoe making while FIIRO will handle food products.

Earlier, in his own address, the bubbly, white haired representative of UNIDO, Mr. Jessy Ojobo hailed Governor Uduaghan for keeping his promise to make the project centre a reality, adding that UNIDO was very happy to partner the Delta State government in developing the center.

The Commissioner for Poverty Alleviation and Executive Secretary, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency, Dr Antonia Ashiedu in her address, stated that the project is a wealth creating center, and lauded Governor Uduaghan’s commitment to empower Deltans through the Delta Beyond Oil initiative, adding that the centre would be training more than ten thousand persons annually who will be assisted to set up their businesses and also train other Deltans.

The Regent of Issele-Uku, Prince Dominic Egbune in his welcome address thanked the state government and especially Governor Uduaghan for deeming it fit to locate the centre in his domain.

“This training and entrepreneurship centre indeed, is an indelible edifice Your Excellency, Dr Uduaghan has established that can never be forgotten. We will remain very grateful for this wonderful gesture that will also boost the economic activities and the aesthetic nature of Issele-Uku”, the regent said.

Also commenting on the project, the Chairman of Aniocha North LGA, Hon. Chuks Oseme, said that the project centre will not only create employment for the teeming youths of the Local Government, but will also attract commerce and investment to the area which would greatly improve the living standards of the people and accelerate infrastructure and human capital development once full operations commence at the centre.

Governor Uduaghan then performed the commissioning ceremony by cutting the ceremonial tape and unveiling the commemorative plaque, after which he was taking on a guided tour of the facility, which includes, the Leather works/shoes factory, the Palm wine brewery, the Pineapple Juice processing section, the Bakeries and confectioneries area, the flour processing; cassava, yam, Beans, Rice and Garri processing section, the Akwa-Ocha (Traditional ethnic clothing) loom/mill section, the Jewelry/Millinery section and the Disinfectants/Insecticides and Cosmetics section, amongst others.

Accompanying the Governor to the commissioning ceremony were the first lady, Deaconess Roli Uduaghan, the governor’s daughter, Mrs Orode Ryan Okpu, Tthe Delta PDP Chairman, Chief Edwin Uzor, as well as civil Commissioners of the Delta state government, including the Commissioners for Information, Chike Ogeah, Education (Primary and secondary) Tony Nwaka, and his Higher Education counterpart, Charles Emetulu, Agriculture, Prof. Patrick Muogboghare and Women Affairs, Chief Mrs. Betty Efekoda.

The Aniocha North Youths Association were on hand to provide pulsating traditional music, while other gaily dressed social clubs and women groups added colour and razzmatazz to a highly successful commissioning ceremony.

The Delta State Micro, Small and Medium Entrepreneurship Centre will be supervised by the Delta State Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency, DSMSA, which according to Governor Uduaghan, is overseeing the programme to ensure its sustainability, collaborate with development partners to promote enterprise locally, nationally and internationally, invest in productivity, provide opportunities for capacity building and promote business linkages on Micro, Small and Medium enterprises, amongst other terms of operation.

Governor Uduaghan, who had earlier carried out an inspection tour of the facility before the commissioning had noted during the visit that, “this training institution is part of the achievements in the area of Delta Beyond Oil and a lot of entrepreneurs will be trained here”, even as he added that the partnership between the Delta State government, which provided the funds for the project and UNIDO which is providing the technical expertise, including the construction and operational equipment, will ensure the sustainability of the project.

He said, “UNIDO has provided machines that will make the weaving of Akwa-Ocha faster and there are other agencies that are interested and are investing in this project. The centre will bridge the gap between the farmer and the end users as it will take care of the excess supply, encourage price stability and more production to take care of the factory export needs”.

Dr. Antonia Ashiedu, who was appointed as the pioneer Executive Secretary of the Delta State Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency, when Governor Uduaghan signed the bill to change the Delta State Micro Credit Programme, DMCP, into an agency in October 2014, holds a Doctorate Degree in Political Science with bias for International Relations and Development Finance.

She will oversee the operations of the centre and is expected to bring the same excellent expertise, organizational brilliance and people oriented policy initiatives, which made the Delta State Micro Credit Programme, DMCP, one of the outstanding success stories of the Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan administration, to bear on this new engagement.

Below are more photos of the grand occasion.

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