By Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoa – Bayelsa State Government, said yesterday, that it was set to launch the first phase of its women empowerment programme for various cooperative groups next week.
Governor Seriake Dickson, announced this when the Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga visited Yenagoa.
He said that about N500 million would be disbursed to the women cooperative groups during his ‘thank you’ tour to the eight local government areas of the state, expected to kick off next week.
Dickson, who expressed delight at the minister’s visit, explained that government decided to test-run the programme with women in view of the critical role they play in their families and society in general.
While commending the minister for his efforts in promoting the growth of business and investment in the country, Dickson noted that his administration had since keyed into the Federal Government’s development programmes for small and medium enterprises.
He said: “This was where oil and gas started, but we don’t have the big oil companies located here. In this state, it is only the government that employs people, and that has to change. So, I am actively promoting the policy of expanding the economy of this state beyond oil and gas.”
Earlier, the minister, Dr. Aganga, said he was in Bayelsa to inaugurate the state council on Small and Medium Enterprises as well as launch the National Enterprise Development Programme, NEDEP.
Describing the small and medium enterprises sub-sector as the greatest employer of labour in the country, Aganga quoted a survey conducted by SMEDAN as revealing that “about 17.25 million micro, small and medium enterprises exist in this country employing closed to 32 million people.”