From Magnus Eze, Abuja

The National Directorate of Employment (NDE) has empowered no fewer than 100 women in Bida, Niger State, with various equipment to begin business.

Acting Director-General of the NDE, Mr. Kunle Obayan, who jointly presented the items with the Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, yesterday, at the Etsu’s Square, Bida, disclosed that 3,900 women have so far benefitted from the agency’ Women Employment Branch (WEB).

The NDE boss stated that the programme, in collaboration with the Bida Emirate Council, trained women in cosmetics production, knitting and tomato processing and preservation.

“I am proud to say that these women have diligently acquired the relevant knowledge and skills required to start their own business, in line with the acquired vocations,” Obayan said.

He urged them to not only become self-employed and self-reliant but also employers of labour, who contribute to the wellbeing of their immediate families and society at large.

Special Assistant to the Niger State Governor on Girl-Child Education, Hajia Amina Waziri, who represented the governor’s wife, enjoined the beneficiaries not to sell the equipment given to them. She asked them to ensure that other women learnt the various skills from them.

On his part, the Etsu commended the President Muhammadu Buhari administration for making job creation one of its key objectives.

Abubakar, lauding the NDE for the gesture extended to his emirate, also tasked the chairman of Bida Local Government Council to key into NDE’s packages to empower the unemployed people of the area.

Many of the beneficiaries received knitting equipment, while others got cheques to start small businesses, especially in food processing.


INVESTMENT: NEPZA attracts $76.8bn investments to 4 industrial cities

From Walter Ukaegbu, Abuja

Managing Director, Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Mr. Gbenga Kuye, has said that his organization had attracted $76.8 billiom worth of investments to the four industrial cities across the country.

Kuye made this disclosure yesterday in Abuja during an interaction with Daily Sun when he remarked that the authority attracted $18 billion investments to the Ogidigben Industrial Park in Delta State, which is an industrial hub for gas.

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According to the NEPZA boss, the agency also attracted $38 billion investments to the Nigeria International Commerce City, otherwise known as the Eko Atlantic City.

He further explained that the Eko Atlantic City has 13 bridges, world-class road and underground drainage designed to be not only a hub for manufacturing but for seminars as well.

Kuye added that $2.8 billion and $18 billion had been attracted to Maritime Badagry City and the Centenary City, respectively.

Out of the 34 free zones in Nigeria, Kano and Calabar free trade zones were regulated by NEPZA because they were established by the Federal Government.

On his focus, the NEPZA boss explained that he has been licensing the free zones and creating markets.

He also said that before now there were conflicts between NEPZA, customs and ITF, among other companies, but during his tenure a department was created in the customs to manage free zones.


Niger Delta Ministry, World Bank collaborate

From Fred Itua, Abuja

Efforts to alleviate the sufferings of the people living in coastal communities of the Niger Delta would soon bear fruit, as the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and the World Bank have outlined plans on a masterplan for the development and protection of the areas.

This collaboration is coming as a response to the need to encourage economic activities in the Niger Delta region, as well as to protect it from further environmental degradation. The collaboration was disclosed when the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Uguru Usani, played host to a delegation of the World Bank Group, led by Dahlia Lotayef, in Abuja.

“This visit is a fallout of the meeting on West Africa Coastal Areas Management Programme, held in Lome, Togo, recently,” the Minister said.

Usani stressed that the livelihood of the people in the coastal areas of the Niger Delta region depends largely on maritime activities, hence the need for the World Bank to align the promotion and protection of agricultural activities into its programmes in the region.

“Niger Delta region does not cover the entire coastal areas of Nigeria, so it is imperative that the West Africa Coastal Areas Development Programme considers improving the economic activities in the various sectors of all the coastal communities in Nigeria,” Usani said.