By Victor Graham
Bayelsa State Government has criticized the ad-hoc approach of most Federal Government agencies towards poverty alleviation and entrepreneurial development in the country.
The government pointed out that such approach does not only result in waste of efforts and scarce resources but also fails in creating long lasting impact on the beneficiaries of the social support programmes.
The state Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo made this known when the South-South Coordinator of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agencies of Nigeria (SMEDAN) led a delegation to pay him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Yenagoa.
Media aide to the Deputy Governor; Mr Doubara Atasi, said in a statement that the Bayelsa number two man urged SMEDAN and other federal agencies to work closely with state governments to ensure the growth and development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) at the state and local government levels.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo decried the continued short-changing of people of the state in Federal Government’s sponsored programmes such as the Survival Fund, You-Win, Sure-P and OLOP schemes in terms of quota and funding.
His words, “Some of these programmes run by the federal government are too ad-hoc for my liking. They are like ‘hit and run’ relationships that are not long lasting.
“When you say Survival Fund programme and it is lasting for only three months, what will be the impact on the beneficiaries? Three months are over but Covid-19 is still there. Sometimes, they just hurriedly package these programmes and throw them at the states.
“You said 13,000 was allocated to Bayelsa for the Survival Fund, but only about 10,000 was enrolled. So where are the remaining 3,000 and when are they going to be registered? I think we really have to collaborate more closely to get these programmes working.
He stressed the need for SMEDAN to interface effectively with the state investment team and Ministry of Agriculture to harness the comparative advantage in natural endowments in every local government area of the state.
The Deputy Governor also urged the Agency to scale up its advocacy campaigns in the state to raise the awareness of the people, particularly the youths, on the importance of SMEs and the acquisition of skills to promote self-reliance.
He noted that most of the reputable multi-billion business organizations around the world such as Microsoft, Facebook and Apple, started as SMEs and grew to what they are today.
Earlier in her remarks, the South-South Coordinator of SMEDAN, Mrs Anyam Omubo-Pepple, explained that the Agency was established in 2003 to grow small and medium enterprise subsector of the national economy.
According to her, most people from the northern states are benefiting significantly from SMEDAN programmes because of the cooperation and buy-in of their state governments.
Mrs Omubo-Pepple, who expressed delight at the interest shown so far by the Governor Douye Diri-led administration, disclosed that six out of the eight local government areas have benefited from the Agency’s current programme, known as One Local Government, One Product.