Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Growth and Employment in States 4th Scheme (GEMS4) to fast-track the development of small and medium scale industries in the state.
Aregbesola said at the signing of the MOU that his administration has been able to endure the harsh economic challenges in the country because of the government’s huge investments in human capital development.
GEMS4 is an affiliate of the Department for International Development (DFID) funded programme that would link and expand the market for unique wholesale and retail products from Osun into larger local and international markets.
Under the scheme, local producers of black soap, local delicacies, mat makers and other petty producers are to be assisted to gain access to bigger markets for bigger economic opportunities.
The governor said investment in people helps the commerce and economy of states as well as facilitate wealth creation.He said the signing of the MOU will promote collaboration and cooperation with GEMS4 so as to provide assess to markets for the production of local products.
He said no government can create wealth in an environment of hunger, poverty and want, saying his government is committed to raising the standard of living of the people through wealth creation.
According to him, a lot of people had asked how the state is coping with the economic downturn, while others decried the poor revenue that had previously accrued to it from the Federation Account.
He said: “A lot of people have been asking how we are surviving in spite of the economic challenges. Some people even castigated us for the abnormal revenue we got from the Federation.
“The answer to this question is that we have made human development centre of our programmes and policies long before taking over the mantle of leadership.
“The investment in our people is paying off handsomely. This is what we want to consolidate with the MOU with GEMS4.“We also believe there are still opportunities untapped and unexplored. The MOU will help us explore the opportunities previously unexplored for wealth creation, progress and development.”
The governor emphasised that wealth creation is the fulcrum of the MOU and the benefits are numerous and immeasurable particularly for the small scale industries.
He stressed that what is important is the readiness of the people to explore the opportunities the MOU offers.In his remarks, the GEMS4 Project Director in Nigeria, David Joiner, at the MOU signing ceremony at the Executive Chambers, Office of the Governor, Osogbo, said the project would raise the production and earning capacity of the poor in Osun.
He listed some of the industries that will benefit from this unique partnership between the state and GEMS4 include the soap making industry, agro-processing industries among others.
The DFID boss added that the project is aimed at creating and sustaining 10,000 full time equivalent jobs and increased incomes for 500,000 people in the state.
Joiner disclosed that the unique products identified so-far for re-packaging, branding and marketing for larger markets includes local black soaps, the popular ‘dodo Ikire’, domestic goats and sheep among others.
“With signing of this MOU, we will hit the ground running, SMEs will benefit from the project and we believe that employment will be generated, up to 5,000 traditional soap makers in different parts of the state.