+234 903 861 0329




Speeches by Chief Job Creation Officer

Apr 07 2016


AN ADDRESS BY CHIEF JOB CREATION OFFICER, PROF. ERIC EBOH, ON THE OCCASION OF HIS EXCELLENCY, THE GOVERNOR’S FLAG-OFF OF THE VALIDATION WORKSHOP FOR THE DELTA STATE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN, 3RD MARCH 2016, UNITY HALL, ASABA. Protocols……….. I am highly honoured and privileged to give an overview of the draft policy document (referred to as the Delta State Economic Development Plan, 2016-2019) and to explain the modalities and expected outcomes of this validation workshop. The importance of an official policy document in the form of an economic development plan is self-evident in the life and times of any government. In addition to its traditional value as the state government’s policy roadmap and prioritization blueprint, the plan document serves as a mechanism for resource planning, a tool for public communication as well as a vehicle for stakeholder buy-in and investment mobilization. In fact, it is the current administration’s policy biography by which it will be publicly mirrored and referenced today, tomorrow and in the annals of posterity. With this consideration in mind, the process of developing an official policy document was kick-started by HE through the formation of a Technical Working Group (TWG), early in the life of the administration. It is common knowledge that the current administration set exemplary records in swiftly commencing the implementation of significant policy reforms and people-oriented programs upon assumption of office. But, it was realized that there was yet no single formal reference document that encapsulates the development goals, sectoral priorities, policy thrusts and implementation strategies of the administration. Besides, an official policy document is justified, in our case, by the necessity and legitimacy of translating the S.M.A.R.T Agenda into concrete policy reforms, measurable development outcomes and performance indicators. The process of preparing the policy document has involved the participation of MDAs through the submission of policy memoranda, the use of a variety of source literature including the SMART Agenda document, report of the transition committee and various official speeches and proclamations by His Excellency as well as policy directions espoused in EXCO Memos. It is therefore pleasing to note that today, the state government has a draft Economic Development Plan that is founded on the S.M.A.R.T Agenda. We are now at a critical juncture in the process of having an economic development plan, that is, the stage of validation. True ownership and buy-in requires that the policy document be reviewed and validated by the policy designers and implementers across state government MDAs. Hence, this validation workshop is an essential and indispensable phase of the entire process. During this workshop, MDAs, represented by yourselves that are gathered here, will critically examine the respective chapters of the draft economic development plan to ensure that the content (including assumptions, projections, facts and figures) are correct, adequate and realistic. To make the review process effective, every chapter in the draft document has been assigned to the relevant MDAs or group of MDAs for examination. In reviewing the draft document, it is also imperative for MDAs to verify that the policy thrusts, implementation strategies and projects are well aligned with the S.M.A.R.T Agenda which is akin to a “social contract” between the current administration and the people of Delta State. Given that this validation exercise is the last feedback stage of the policy development process prior to publication, I would like to urge MDAs, particularly those officials who are leading the various review groups, to give quality attention to scrutinizing the content and reverting with suggested revisions. All the inputs and amendments contributed by MDAs will be utilized for producing a revised and improved version of the plan document. It is expected that the final document will be presented to the State Executive Council for adoption as the Delta State Economic Development Plan. Your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen, you would agree with me that this validation workshop is crucially important for the state government and for all Deltans. Let us therefore make it a huge success. Thank you for your kind attention.


An address delivered by the Chief Job Creation Officer, Prof. Eric Eboh on the occasion of the formal inauguration of the Delta State Government’s job and wealth creation scheme by His Excellency, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, the Governor of Delta State on Wednesday 26th August, 2015 at Songhai-Delta, Amukpe. PROTOCOLS Your Excellency, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, the Governor of Delta State Your Excellency, Barr. Kingsley Otuaro, the Deputy Governor of Delta State The Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly Chief Judge of Delta State Honourable Members of the State House of Assembly Members of State Executive Council Secretary to the State Government Chief of Staff Senior Political Adviser Special Advisers Royal Fathers and Community Leaders Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen Great Delta Youths – Build the Youths, Build the Nation Gentlemen of the Press Welcome I am greatly delighted to join in welcoming you to this landmark formal inauguration of the job and wealth creation scheme under the SMART Agenda of His Excellency, the Governor of Delta State. Tribute to His Excellency, the Governor I would like to begin by paying tribute to His Excellency, for his exemplary leadership and commitment to job creation and wealth creation. Your Excellency, in less than three months of taking office, you are doing a formal inauguration of the job and wealth creation scheme under the SMART Agenda of Prosperity for all Deltans. Ladies and Gentlemen, Great Delta youths, as you all are aware, His Excellency rode to power on the mantra of Prosperity for All Deltans, and in particular, with the promise of tackling youth unemployment, creating jobs and wealth. Today, we are witnessing a live evidence of that promise. Your Excellency, you have demonstrated that you are a Governor with a difference, a man whose words are his bond, in keeping with your traditional title “Ekwueme”. You continue to prove yourself to be what all Deltans know you to be – a man of integrity, a game-changer. Congratulations to our Trainees To our trainees, here assembled, I say hearty congratulations. · As I explained to you on the night of Sunday when I gave you a comprehensive welcome briefing, you have emerged out of a long painstaking rigorous selection process which started with the receipt of almost 70,000 applications for a total of 1345 slots. · So, you should count yourself very privileged, uniquely opportuned and divinely destined for this programme. · For the sake of reemphasis, let me state that the trainees have been selected through three successive stages of open, transparent and objective screening as instructed by His Excellency, the Governor o first, we conducted an open, transparent and inclusive application process, as evident in the fact that the form was obtainable online as well as through community, political leaders and traditional rulers throughout the state o second, we carried out a prequalification exercise based on objective eligibility criteria; o third, we used a neutral scientific sampling method that was computer-programmed to trim down the number of prequalified applicants to a manageable shortlist, o fourth, we conducted interviews in three centres in each of the three senatorial districts to score the shortlisted applicants on key parameters ( 5 C’s) - communication, content (that is, basic knowledge of the subject matter), comportment, confidence and conviction. o fifth, we applied the principle of cut-off line, by sorting the applicants in decreasing order of performance at the interviews and selecting starting from the highest scoring applicant downwards until we got the target number of applicants for each of YAGEP and STEP We went through these steps so as to ensure that the programme includes only youths that are willing, interested and passionate to become entrepreneurs. Our selection process has thrown up an inclusive crop of trainees from among the population of applicants. Today, we are satisfied that the crop of trainees reflect a diverse mix of persons in terms of age, educational background, academic qualification, gender, socio-economic status and skills preferences. In fact, among the trainees, we have nursing mothers and the physically challenged. Notwithstanding these diversities, 1. These youths are united in their choice to take part in this scheme 2. They are united in their willingness to take their destiny in their hands 3. They are united in their gratitude to His Excellency for this historic innovation 4. They are united in their determination to succeed as entrepreneurs, in particular. Branding of the “Products” of the Job Creation Scheme Indeed, let me at this juncture, gladly inform you that many months from today, upon successful completion of their training, these youths will be branded and promoted as STEPreprenuers and YAGEPreneurs. They will be ambassadors of Prosperity for All Deltans. The Beauty and Determination of The Trainees Over the past 3 days, I have been personally interacting with them here at Amukpe. Based on my observations, I can confidently and happily announce to you, Sir, that, the trainees here gathered are energetically and thirstily fired-up for this programme. In fact, it does appear that have been eagerly waiting and praying for this kind of intervention in their life. The Total Package Your Excellency, kindly oblige me to reiterate that, through your guidance, the job creation scheme has been modelled as a total package for nurturing youth entrepreneurs, raising leaders, creating jobs and wealth. The package has four interdependent components: 1. Life Skills Training to promote values reorientation and instill the right mindset for productive and responsible living 2. Vocational Skills Training to transmit know-how and hands-on skills 3. Entrepreneurship Skills Training which is designed to impart basic entrepreneurship, management business techniques and principles 4. Support for Enterprise & Business Incubation through establishment mentoring and follow-through Monitoring & Tracking is Crucial to Success Your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen, let me state that the Office of the Chief Job Creation Officer will follow these trainees through and through. In this respect, we have set up a monitoring and tracking system for quality assurance. The system will ensure good quality training by the training centres in compliance with our training modules as well as ensure maximum discipline among the trainees. In keeping with international best practices, we have created help lines (4 nos.) and email contacts for seamless communication between us and the trainees. In addition, we are establishing an online interactive platform that will be conducted by our Office for social networking among all the trainees as well as for obtaining live feedback from the field. Mentoring will Make the Difference Moreover, we will implement a mentoring mechanism to ensure that trainees are well-nurtured to maturity as entrepreneurs. The mentoring will adopt the concept of mobile business clinics (MBCs) for the detection, diagnostics and prescription of solutions to business problems during the enterprise gestation period. We are taking these extraordinary measures in order to avoid the mistakes of the past and ensure sustainability of programme outcomes. More importantly, the Office of the Chief Job Creation Officer is driven by the notion that this job creation scheme can only be said to have succeeded when the trainees succeed in their respective enterprises. In making this assertion, we are actually buying into His Excellency’s mindset, which was expressed in his inauguration speech on the 29th of May this year, whereby he said “we will succeed as a government when our people succeed”. Bright Prospects for Collaboration and Partnerships Your Excellency, we have begun marketing this Made-in-Delta job creation model to international development partners, non-governmental organizations and private sector establishments. By this process, we will mobilize financial resources to complement government funds and develop collaboration and partnerships to achieve wider social and economic impacts. Great Delta youths, in the course of my interaction with you over the past three days, I have likened the job creation scheme and the Prosperity for all Deltans to a “train that has taken off”. You are passengers on-board the train, with His Excellency, the Governor, conveying you to your destination. Acknowledgements Before I end, let me make some important acknowledgements. I would like to thank all the members of the Ad hoc Steering Committee on Job creation for their cooperation and support. Thanks also go the staff of the Office of the Chief Job Creation Officer for their teamwork. And to all other officials of government that have made this day a reality, I express our profound gratitude. Your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen, Our dear trainees, thanks very much for your kind attention.


ADDRESS BY CHIEF JOB CREATION OFFICER, PROF. ERIC EBOH, AT THE PASSING-OUT OF THE FIRST BATCH 2015 CYCLE OF STEP AND YAGEP TRAINEES UNDER DELTA STATE GOVERNMENT JOB CREATION SCHEME, 14TH JANUARY 2016, SONGHAI-DELTA, AMUKPE. Protocols……………….. I would like to join the Chairman, Ad hoc Steering Committee on Job Creation and Honourable Commissioner for Economic Planning, in welcoming you all to this occasion. Your Excellency, on the 26th of August 2015 (last year), you graciously performed the formal inauguration of trainees under STEP and YAGEP. During that week, the trainees were given orientation and life skills training after which they proceeded to various training centres to acquire vocational skills. In all, the 2015 cycle featured 17 enterprise categories, comprising 4 agricultural enterprise categories and 13 non-agricultural enterprise categories. The training centres are 116 STEP and 40 for YAGEP. Today, we are pleased that the 3-month duration trainees have successfully completed the second leg of the training during which they acquired hands-on practical skills. Altogether, there are 773 trainees in the 3-month duration category. This passing-out training is the third leg of the training plan. The training course is focused on imparting critical business management and entrepreneurship skills to enable trainees start and run their enterprises. While the trainees were in their various training centres, we followed them through and through. We remained engaged with them through different layers of monitoring, including independent monitors. We interacted real-time with them via social media platforms. We obtained live feedback from them. We enforced discipline among the trainees and quality compliance by trainers. Our efforts are vindicated by positive feedback by both trainees and trainers. This passing-out course will be followed with establishing the trainees with starter packs, support for business name registration and buffer stipends. The starter pack varies from enterprise to enterprise. But, generally, it includes critical equipment, working tools, operating inputs, buffer monthly stipends, support for overhead costs such as shop rent and infrastructure of facilities (in the case of agricultural enterprises) as well as start-up allowance. We are conscious that success of job creation depends on whether the trainees succeed in the various enterprises. Our emphasis will now shift from monitoring to mentoring of STEPreneurs and YAGEPreneurs. In this regard, we are working with the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Agency to have a mentoring plan in the form of real-time business clinics for start-ups. The business clinics will be run by mentoring teams for respective enterprises. Our aim is to brand and support STEPreneurs and YAGEPreneurs as entrepreneurial ambassadors of the state within and beyond. While implementing this maiden cycle of the job creation programme, we faced some challenges related to huge logistics, operational gaps and inadequate institutional linkages. But, this is not unexpected since this is the rollout phase of this new model of youth empowerment. We are optimistic that our experiences and lessons from this maiden cycle will be very useful for improving the 2016 cycle and subsequent ones, for the sustenance of the programme. It is also our expectation that intakes in the programme will become more accustomed to the training requirements and empowerment approach being adopted. Your Excellency, I will not end this address without paying tribute to your leadership. The progress of job creation scheme so far has been made possible by your visionary leadership, close oversight, tremendous guidance and the conducive working environment created by you. Indeed, we are most privileged to serve under your leadership and so, we are truly grateful for your confidence in us. Your Excellency, kindly let me point out that today is TRAINEES DAY. The trainees have requested that they be allowed sufficient time to fully express their immense gratitude to you through a number of ‘shows’ at this occasion. Their joy and excitement are understandable, hence, I pray that you oblige them. Your Excellency, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, Great STEPreneurs and YAGEPreneurs, I am grateful for your kind attention. Thank you.


AN ADDRESS BY THE CHIEF JOB CREATION OFFICER, PROF. ERIC EBOH, ON THE OCCASION OF FORMAL INAUGURATION OF THE PRODUCTION AND PROCESSING SUPPORT PROGRAME (PPSP) UNDER THE JOB AND WEALTH CREATION SCHEME, 7TH OCTOBER 2015. PROTOCOLS Your Excellency, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, Governor of Delta State WELCOME I would like to align with the Chairman of the Adhoc Steering Committee on Job Creation in welcoming you to this formal inauguration of the Production and Processing Support Programme (PPSP) under the Job and Wealth Creation Scheme. Today, Deltans are witnessing another milestone in the march to prosperity through the SMART Agenda under the visionary leadership and direction of His Excellency, the Governor. This event follows the ground-breaking flag-off of the job and wealth creation scheme by His Excellency, the Governor, on the 26th of August, at Songhai Delta, Amukpe. In continuation of the journey, the prosperity train is today taking on-board another segment of Deltans, comprising agricultural producers, agroprocessors and agricultural value chain operators. The agricultural population makes up a critically important economic constituency for job and wealth creation in Delta State, as it is throughout Nigeria. THE PPSP Design PPSP is designed to provide or facilitate the flow of inputs, equipment, technologies, microcredit and technical assistance to farmers, agroprocessors and agricultural value chain operators. The aim is to increase outputs, productivity and incomes, thereby creating jobs and wealth, towards prosperity for all Deltans. The PPSP plan includes a total of 1,000 producers and 1,600 agroprocessors (individuals and groups) from now through the end of the year. The Selection Process Selection has been carefully done to ensure that the support packages reach the right target. The right target is the farmer who owns a farm and actually need the support package, rather than persons who are not farmers ‘in practice’. In our selection process, we have been inclusive, objective, fair, equitable and thorough. The process started many months ago with the initiation of database of farmers in the state. Within the database, we screened to shortlists of farmers using benchmarks regarding the nature and size of farm enterprise. Furthermore, we conducted field verification visits to a sample of farms and did interview checks, and both exercises have helped to eliminate wrongful inclusion of non-farmers in our final selection. The Database of Farmers We are happy to report that there is now a database of farmers in Delta State. The database has entries consolidated from a variety of sources. The sources are: the open registration exercise initiated by the Office of the Job Creation Officer; Ministry of Agriculture; Agricultural Development Programme; Federal Ministry of Agriculture’s Growth Enhancement Scheme (e-wallet platform); commodity associations; and All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Delta State Chapter. Let me at this juncture state that one of the milestones that we have recorded under the PPSP is the creation of a database on farmers in the state. Today, we have a fairly comprehensive database for crops, livestock and fishery farmers. The database warehouses information about the farmers including contact telephone numbers, residential address, type of enterprise, size of enterprise and location of enterprise. The database is in line with the Know-Your-Farmer principle, which is an international best practice in agricultural sector programming. Currently, with the database, the state government now knows who the farmers are, where the farms are and can now target them accurately. In addition, the database provides the state government with handy facts and figures about agricultural production, with which it can readily and confidently engage with private sector investors and partners for job and wealth creation projects such as large-scale farming, development of outgrowers and development of agroprocessing clusters. As a living document, the database will be updated as information become available. The database of famers is indeed a landmark achievement, given that this is the first of its kind since the state was created, 25 years ago. The Tractorisation Policy A major pillar of the production support and a principal element of the ongoing agricultural reforms for job and wealth creation is the new private sector-oriented tractorisation policy. The policy thrust to promote private sector ownership and management of tractor services. As a critical first step, the management and ownership of government-purchased tractors will at today’s event be transferred to credible and capable farmers’ cooperative societies, by His Excellency, the Governor. The purpose of this policy is to make tractor services accessible and affordable to farmers in a sustainable manner. So far, a total of 17 farmers’ cooperatives societies have signed the Agreement and paid for a total of 25 tractors with implements. THE PPSP Production Packages The state government, through the Office of the Chief Job Creation Officer is delivering support packages to producers for job and wealth creation. The production support packages are relevant, holistic and were worked out together with the farmers through their various groups, associations and cooperative societies. This first phase of PPSP covers six commodities – cassava, plantain, vegetables, poultry, fishery and piggery. · The support package for cassava includes planting materials (cassava stems), fertilizer and cash component for land preparation, weed control and harvesting. · The support packages for plantain includes plantain suckers, fertilizer and cash component for land preparation, weed control and harvesting. · The support package for vegetables include seeds/seedlings, fertilizer, plant protection chemicals and cash component for land preparation, weed control and harvesting. · The support package for poultry includes day-old chicks and point-of-lay, feeds and animal care medication. · The support package for fishery includes fingerlings/juveniles, feeds and medication. · The support package for piggery includes growers, feed and medication. The PPSP Processing Packages The processing support packages covers subsidized oil palm processing mill, cassava micro-processing, gari fryers, melon shellers and fish smoking kilns. The essence is to eliminate wastes, promote value addition to agricultural produce, reduce drudgery in agroprocessing and enhance development of the commodity value chain. The intervention will lead to additional incomes and jobs in the agroprocessing segment of the agricultural value chain. The Marketing Support Plan Your Excellency, may I have your kind permission to talk about what we are doing on the agricultural marketing side in order to ensure that our efforts on the production side do not amount to nullity. It is widely acknowledged that one of the principal drawbacks of agricultural economy is the lack of synergy between production and market. Not surprisingly, farmers in our state have repeatedly mentioned it as a big headache. In fact, PPSP will be futile if there are no corresponding measures to ensure that farmers can sell their produce at the time they desire and at fair prices. Finding markets for farmers will translate their outputs to incomes and wealth. To this end, the Office of the Chief Job Creation Officer in collaboration with Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Commerce and Industry is dialoguing with farmers on how best to solve the agricultural marketing problems faced by farmers in the state. The dialogue will hopefully bring about an Agricultural Marketing Solutions Coordinating Committee comprising government officials, farmers, chamber of commerce and private sector marketing agents. The Committee will make recommendations to government on measures for tackling the agricultural marketing bottleneck in the state. The PPSP Delivery Plan The Office of the Chief Job Creation Officer, working with other agencies of government, will implement a delivery plan whereby inputs will be taken to farm locations. By this delivery plan, only those farmers whose farm locations can be observed will get the inputs. Farmers who have been included but whose farm locations cannot be successfully re-verified during the distribution process will be replaced with others. Quality and Integrity of Inputs Your Excellency, Great Farmers, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Office of the Chief Job Creation Officer has taken measures for quality assurance and reliability of the inputs. For the sake of quality and reliability, inputs are being obtained from original sources. Some examples are given as follows. · Cassava stems are being provided by the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, the world’s authority in cassava research and breeding. · Cassava microprocessing mill is modelled after the prototype designed and popularized by the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan. · With regard to poultry, day-old chicks are being obtained by CHI farms in Ibadan, which is nationally acclaimed as a foremost leader in poultry hatchery. · Poultry feeds are being provided by ANIMAL CARE which is the national industry leader in the formulation and manufacture poultry feeds. · Oil palm processing mill is modelled after the prototype of Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR), near Benin City, which is Nigeria’s mandated research authority on oil palm. · Fertilizer is being provided by NOTORE Ltd., Onne, Port Harcourt, which is Nigeria’s and in fact Africa’s highest ranking manufacturer of fertilizer. The Impact of PPSP The impact of PPSP will be on creating jobs and wealth. In addition to the 2600 direct beneficiaries, the support packages will bring about equivalent number of indirect jobs along the agricultural value chain. Moreover, the public investment will bring an additional 1000 ha of arable land into cultivation as well as boost the stocks of fingerlings, poultry and piggery in the state. Overall, the PPSP interventions will from now through the year-end generate direct and multiplier income benefits to the tune of more than three billion naira (N3 billion). Monitoring and Feedback Your Excellency, Distinguished Dignitaries, Great Farmers, Ladies and Gentlemen, let me also assure that we will track the use of PPSP support packages by farmers and agroprocessors. We will not just provide the inputs and walk away. Rather, we will follow-through on how the inputs are impacting on productivity, incomes and job creation at the enterprise level. For this purpose, we have an independent monitoring and evaluation group comprising specialists in livestock, crops and fisheries who will act as whistle-blower and make periodic reports for accordingly. Acknowledgments Let me thank members of the Adhoc Steering Committee on Job Creation for their individual and collective efforts and sacrifices for PPSP and other job creation programmes. It is important to also thank the staff of the Ministry of Agriculture and Agricultural Development Programme as well as the Ministry of Commerce and Industry for collaborating with us on the PPSP. Your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen, Great Farmers, thank you very much for your kind attention.