The governor of Enugu State, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, and the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, yesterday advocated coordinated efforts at all levels of government aimed at diversifying the nation’s economy from its present mono-economy status.
They spoke in Enugu when the minister, accompanied by the management team of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), paid the governor a courtesy visit on their way to the 27th Enugu International Trade Fair.
Both the governor and the minister observed that the diversification of the nation’s economy would reduce her over dependence on oil sector for survival, especially now that oil price has crashed by two thirds of what it was a year ago.
They maintained that the advocated measure of diversification had become necessary as it would bring a permanent end to the uncertainties associated with oil as the major income earner for the country.
They also agreed in their separate speeches during the courtesy call on the governor at the Government House that the focus of the trade fair on looking into other sources of revenue could not become more apt than now when the falling oil prices have placed Nigeria’s economy into a precarious situation.
Governor Ugwuanyi told the minister that Enugu state government has resolved to seek other sources of income that would create wealth and harness other potentials free from oil money that had blinded other sectors in the past.
According to the governor, “in pursuit of this goal, we have among other things, scheduled an International Investment Summit to hold here in Enugu from 12th to 14th of April, 2016 that would help us showcase the rich potentials of the state to investors around the world.
‘´I am sure that the Honourable Minister will be willing to help us secure necessary support from Federal Government to ensure that these noble efforts to attract investors and boost economic activities in the state and region, yield the desired dividends”, he said.
On his part, the Minister, Dr, Ngige, said the ministry would collaborate with Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources in training and empowering Nigerians particularly the youth in various skills acquisition.
He said the gesture is to enable Nigerians to use their hands on their raw goods and services and be self-reliant.
The labour minister explained that the ministry in line with its action plan, would take census of all skills acquisition centres in the country with a view to rehabilitating them to assist Nigerians reshape their mind-set on white collar jobs.
According to him, the ministry had made frantic efforts in training and retraining entrepreneurs with various skills in the areas of blacksmithing, hair dressing, traditional tie and dye, welding, fabric weaving, brick laying among others using locally made machines and raw materials such as palm oil/kernel etc to put them into standard.
He noted that National Directorate of Employment established by decree and legislation as one of the parastatals in the ministry, was charged with the responsibility to provide employment to job seekers and assist them to embark on Small Scale and Medium enterprises.
The minister thanked Governor Ugwuanyi for his human-oriented projects, describing him as the mirror of the people.