THE Bank of Industry (BoI) has partnered the people of Bonny Kingdom as part of efforts to empower them with requisite skills that would aid employment generation and also increase the number of entrepreneurs in the country.
The bank’s Managing Director, Ms. Evelyn Oputu, said the partnership would enhance the breaking of new grounds for sustainable partnerships for development in the community and the country at large.
Oputu, who stated this while receiving a council of chiefs of the Bonny Kingdom in Lagos, yesterday, added that one of the reasons why youths in the country are restive was due to the fact that they were unemployed.
“We want to partner with them in areas of training to build their capacity because one of the causes of youth unemployment is lack of skills to find jobs that are relevant.
“We are also looking at areas to empower members of the community with skills to make them self-reliant. We would also be looking at areas where they have comparative advantage over other communities and develop them to be an economic zone that will be of benefit to them outside the natural resources they have which include oil and gas,” she added.
She further said: “This is going to be owned by them and this is something that will make them self-respecting citizens that would have impact on the society They have come with one of their partners which is one of the communities in the society, the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) who have demonstrated their interest to work with the people and see them change. We are also going to bring our development partners to enhance this partnership.
The BoI boss however commended the chiefs, saying: “We have situations in our nation where people have not actually cared enough for their people. This is why we have restiveness that has been happening for quite a while. I want to say that I am really quite impressed with the initiative but I am no surprised because your kingdom as you say is very well known.
“You have a leadership that is enlightened and I am very pleased and proud of your people for taking this initiative to pass it on to others rather than waiting for problems to arise. You are being proactive even till date and I wish other communities would borrow from this initiative. You have decided to look beyond your natural resources through this initiative.
“We are going to talk about developing your people. This is what the bank is all about. For sustainability to take place, we need to look at what you have that the bank can develop. We want you to tell us the areas where you feel your people have the comparative advantage.
According to her, BoI has already started work by sending some people to the community pledging her support to partner the. Kingdom.
“I want to also say that we are ready to partner you as far as you want to go and we would go every step of the way with you. I want you to be rest assured here that as NLNG has come to partner with you, it makes our job a lot easier. We have told you about the work we do with State governments and we have started moving away from there to individuals”. She said.
She said the first step was to build the capacity of the people through training while stating the different models developed by BoI to boost agribusiness among women and youths.
“We are going to go through all our processes one after the other together with an officer from you. We would want a situation where someone would work with our team with the framework we have to offer which you would choose from,” she stressed.
Also, the Chairman, Bonny Chiefs Council, Chief Owen Manilla-Pepple said the community was looking for sources of funding to develop its people and kingdom in a sustainable way that would translate to economic growth and development potential for the country.
“We had a visit from BoI and UNIDO to seek areas of partnership. We believe in development that is sustainable as the only way to move Nigeria forward. We have come here to further see ways of collaborations to move our kingdom forward,” he said.