Vice President Kashim Shettima, on Friday inaugurated “Skillnovation Programme” to provide over three million Nigerians with essential digital skills for information technology revolution.
Shettima, while launching the programme at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said the initiative was part of government’s efforts to ensure that citizens succeed in the global economy.
The “Skillnovation Programme” will establish 15 state-of-the-art Information Communication Technology Centers, strategically placed across the country.
The programme will also provide individuals and businesses alike with access to cutting-edge digital training, resources and support.
The first phase of the programme will hold in Katsina, Anambra, Borno, Lagos, Oyo and Kano states while the second phase will be in Delta, Kaduna, Ogun, Bauchi, Kwara and Ekiti states.
The vice president said this would in turn extend the reach of economic and social interactions as well as enhance productivity growth in the country.
He described Skillnovation as a transformative initiative that ushered in a new era of digital empowerment for Nigerians.
“We are compelled to tread this path by the direction in which the world has headed, a world of disruptive technologies redefined by the fourth industrial revolution.
“This initiative is a response to the evolution of the modern business environment, an acknowledgment that digital skills have become the cornerstone of economic ease and expansion,” he said.
Shettima noted that Nigeria, with its expanding MSMEs sector of close to 40 million, had the potential to lead business innovation beyond Africa.
“The ‘Skillnovation Programme’, therefore, aims to unlock this immense potential. The initiative is designed to provide the necessary tools and skills for MSMEs to thrive and compete on the global stage.
“It’s in pursuit of this administration’s resolve to empower youths and MSMEs and to create a more inclusive and prosperous Nigeria.
“Today, we are translating that commitment into action, and we intend to be your allies in your race to take over the world through enhanced skills,” he said.
The vice president gave the assurance that nobody would be left out of the programme regardless of age, gender or disability.
”There will be no disadvantaged demographic in accessing this opportunity. Our youth, women and persons with disabilities, have found friends and allies.
“They will be favoured in our proposed single-digit loan schemes for our valued MSMEs, for which talks are already ongoing with the Bank of Industry and other critical stakeholders and partners,” he said.
He also said that the programme was a significant step towards achieving the Federal Government’s vision of a digitally-empowered and economically-prosperous country.
According to him, this is by providing MSMEs with the essential digital skills and support they need to succeed.
He said that the programme would help to create jobs, boost economic growth, and improve the lives of people.
Earlier, Mr Temitola Adekunle-Johnson, Senior Special Assistant to President Bola Tinubu on Job Creation and MSMEs, said the significance of the partnership could not be overemphasised, noting government alone could not address the challenges confronting citizens.
Also, the Managing Director, Wema Bank, Mr Moruf Oseni, commended the president and vice president for empowering young Nigerians.
He said the programme would directly impact two million youths and one million small businesses across the benefitting states.
He expressed optimism that the scheme would make impact, particularly in empowering young people and preparing them for future challenges.
Also, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr Bosun Tijjani, said that Tinubu’s administration would leverage on the enthusiasm of youths in the technology space to launch Nigeria as a global power.
He called on other private sectors to collaborate more with government to actualise the objectives of job creation.
On his part, Gov. Ahmad Aliyu of Sokoto State, pledged his government’s support to the success of the programme.