No fewer than 1050 people of Akwa Ibom state origin has so far been employed with Akwa Ibom Enterprise an employment scheme (AKEES) which was launched by the state Government barely two months ago.
The Senior Assistant to Governor Udom Emmanuel on Technical Matters, Mr. Ufot Ebong disclosed this during a town Hall meeting tagged; Echoes of Akwa Ibom, organized by Atlantic FM radio yesterday.
“Echoes of Akwa Ibom state” is a radio progamme of the Atlantic FM which deals with issues that bothers mostly on the people of the state.
AKEES is the brain child of the state Bureau of Technical Matters, established by the state Government in December 2015 primarily to create job opportunities for the people of the state, especially the teaming youths which can be lured to crime and violence if allowed to roam the streets of town.
Ebong says the idea of AKKES was partly to end the era where every youth of Akwa Ibom state, even the graduate was queuing to be appointed as aid to Governor to earn quick money; even when he would have to queue and become a beggar in the process.
“There were no apprentices any more, graduates youths were just queuing to be appointed media aids to make quick money, in the process of queuing; even when they have to run after other aids, younger and lower than them academically; they wouldn’t mind provided their turn was expected just to make fast money.
“The present Governor sees this as not good enough, he has in mind to reawaken the spirit of entrepreneurship in the people of the state and we came out with idea of AKEES “In the cause of research, we found out that it took people like Dangote 30 years to strive to get to where he is today.” Ebong explained.
Explaining further, the SA says what is needed in the state is job creation and sustained development, which will cut across the people of the state irrespective of political affiliation as well as train people to be well positioned to take advantage of the industrialization policy of the state Government when the companies are fully operational.
He assures that the scheme which targets a minimum of 10, 000 persons to be employed before the end of the administration in 2019 would tackle the problem of capital flight especially as it has to do with domestic good and food items.
“It is not pleasant to know that over 90 per cent of supermarkets in Uyo are owned by the Igbos, there is a policy that they use which does not necessarily involve capital; that is what we teach people to do in AKEES. You can start making your money while still learning as an apprentice under the scheme” he maintained.
While some participants at the event which had in attendance some AKEES employees/beneficiaries, prospective employees, students, applicants and representative from state and national agencies, were expressing fears on whether the project would live up to its expectations or would be hijacked by Government officials to benefit the privileged few; the representative of SMEDAN, Lucy Ekpenyong expressed satisfaction with the model of the scheme, describing it as encouraging.
According to Ekpenyong, since AKEES does not work with physical cash; it is quit straight forward and is ready to deliver, adding that the scheme is interested in entrepreneurs and not hustlers who are not ready for business.
She however called on interested entrepreneurs to register for the Tony Elumelu foundation’s grant of $10, 000 saying that with good and convincing ideas, AKEES could be good leader for accessing such grant.