The Federal Government is set to present over N8 million take-off grant and starter packs to 165 trainees of the Nigerian Institute of Leather and Science Technology (NILEST) on footwear manufacturing and leather goods’ training workshop.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony of the trainees drawn from different geopolitical zones of Nigeria, the Minister of State for Science, Technology and Innovation, Barr. Mohammed Abdullahi, said each participant would be given N50,000 grant and starter packs to startup the business.
He further said the two weeks’ training of youths from Kogi, Kaduna, Sokoto, Kwara, Imo, Borno, Nasarawa states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, was to make them self-sufficient.
He commended the NILEST for the initiative and the rigorous process of selecting and empowering 165 Nigerian youths; thus, making them employable and eventual employers of labour that contributes to national growth and development.
According to him, the success of the programme is a demonstration of the ministry’s drive of deploying innovation to create jobs and enhance economic growth through entrepreneurship and local production.
“It is also a mark of accomplishment for NILEST to continuously impact on the citizens and the economy, using its expertise and values on the leather sector through its mandate that encapsulates capacity development; conduct of research on leather and leather products technologies and related fields; provision of globally competitive and environmentally-friendly technologies; offering leather science-based consultancy services; marketing; quality control in leather and leather products,” he said.
The minister urged the trainees/beneficiaries to diligently utilise and practice the skills acquired, to be relevant and competitive in their work and businesses.
Earlier in his welcome address, the NILEST director-general, Prof. Mohammed Yakubu, said the programme is a boost at unlocking the enormous potentials in the leather sector for the benefit of Nigeria; adding that Nigerians are generally known to be entrepreneurial, mobile and ambitious. He said with the support available at this time, in no distant time, the Nigerian leather brand will compete favourably with Italian brands.
“The idea of the training is to develop the capacities of Nigerians in the arts, science, technology and innovation and marketing of leather and leather products so that when the total ban on the export of leather is enforced, Nigerians would have mastered the skills to process their leather raw materials to finished goods for export.
“Before that time, NILEST is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that no strata of our society are left behind. Everyone ready will acquire the necessary expertise and skills to compete favourably with the rest of the world,” he added.
Speaking to journalists, one of the graduands from Kogi, Salawudeen Adeiza, thanked the Federal Government and the ministry for organising the programme, even as he revealed his plans to channel the take-off grant and starter pack to set up a small-scale footwear manufacturing centre to employ other youths to benefit from his training.
“I want to thank the government for giving the youths the enabling environment to learn new skills to be self-sufficient,” he added.
Similarly, Favour Andrew described the training as quite enlightening. She underscored the importance of skills’ acquisition for survival in the current society.
She thanked the government for including women in the training, adding that the training will help her stand out in a male-dominated industry.