The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, says that it is collaborating with the Niger Delta Chamber of Commerce to train youths and aspiring entrepreneurs to create jobs and boost the economy in the Niger Delta region.
Speaking during a youth Interactive forum organised by NDDC in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the Managing Director, Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, stated that the collaboration would be based on a new model which would support Small and Medium Enterprises in the Niger Delta region.
Dr. Ogbuku said: ” We are considering setting up a Niger Delta Chamber of Commerce that will strengthen young entrepreneurs in the region. It is no longer acceptable that our youths will be at home and receive stipends.”
In a statement signed by the Commission’s Director of Corporate Affairs, Dr. Ibitoye Abosede, the managing director revealed that the Commission is “changing the NDDC Youth Volunteer programme to Youth Internship Programmes where youths will be attached to organisations for one year to learn skills.”
He added: “The chamber of commerce will help us to ensure that the programme is sustainable. We will focus on empowering young entrepreneurs because government cannot employ everybody. We will engage the youths to work for the benefit of everyone.”
Ogbuku remarked that the NDDC was seeking partnerships through stakeholder engagements, noting: “We have gathered at this forum to hear from the youths; to interact with them and rub minds because we realise that we cannot be planning programmes for youths without involving them at the foundational level.
He said further: “The integration of ideas starts from the conception stage. That way, when the programme starts running, ideas of stakeholders are already incorporated. We believe that the youths must contribute to whatever plans we have for them.”
On sustainability, the NDDC boss said: “Over the years, certain things were done in ways that are unsustainable. There must be a change at every stage of growth. If we have used certain options and not gotten good results, we must explore other options.”
He observed that the NDDC had set up a Public, Private Partnership, PPP, committee to explore sustainable relationships which will impact positively on the people of the region.
He declared: “We intend to look at all opportunities for collaboration during the PPP summit which we are planning to take place in April. We cannot continue to rely on International Oil Companies to raise funds for development projects.”
In his contribution, the leader of Rivers Youth Forum, Mr. Blessing Fubara, urged the NDDC to make the Youth Interactive Forum a quarterly event, stating that the current management in the Commission had demonstrated sufficient interest in providing for the wellbeing of people.
In his closing remarks, the NDDC Executive Director Finance and Administration, Major General Charles Airhiavbere,(Rtd.), assured the youths that the new ideas put forward by the Commission’s Managing Director had been incorporated into the Commission’s 2024 budget.