By Chimezie Anaso
Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra on Friday said the state had secured a N3 billion grant from the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) to invest in SMEs and agriculture.
Obiano made the disclosure at the flag-off of training for the first batch of 150 youths at the Federal Youths Training Centre, Mgbakwu near Awka.
He said that the grant would be shared to medium and small scale entrepreneurs and farmers in the state.
According to the governor, the amount was approved due to the effective use of a similar grant of N1.5 billion to agriculture in 2015.
He said that the new grant would be used majorly to finance small businesses and entrepreneurship development in the state.
Obiano said this was in view of the fact that increase spending by federal and state governments in strategic sectors was the most viable option to pull the economy out of the current recession.
The governor urged individuals to acquire marketable skills and engage in agriculture as these were the best options that could put the economy on the path to prosperity at this moment of recession and inflation.
Obiano said that Anambra was doing well in agriculture, adding that 30 trailers of rice and 100 trucks of vegetables were daily been moved out of the state.
He said the training scheme was wholly free with a take-off package of maximum of N500, 000 for successful youths who were found worthy after the three months training.
“We have to pump money into the economy and not the other way round; that is what we are doing through our investment in agriculture and empowerment off these youths in contemporary skills.
“This Federal Youth Centre will continue to get our attention, it had been abandoned since 2008, but we have revived it and are determined to make it effective.
“Every year, we shall have over 1,000 youths trained and empowered here,” he said.
Dr Uju Nwogu, the state Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development, said adequate logistics had been put in place to make the training a rewarding one for the beneficiaries.
Nwogu said that the training was an indication of Obiano’s administration’s commitment to youth development through sports and entrepreneurship.
“This is unprecedented in the annals of the state; this facility has been completed by the Federal Government since 2008 and has been lying fallow.
“It had been occupied by termites, cockroaches and rodents until this administration intervened.
“These youths have been selected from the 21 local government areas across the state and youth bodies to be trained in POP/Wall screeding, painting, ICT, phone repairs, confectioneries and interlock block moulding,’’ she said
Chief Harold Iweze, the President General of Mgbakwu Community, urged the Anambra Government to construct the roads to the centre.