Capacity building has always been the bane of developing economies like Nigeria, with majority of the labor force being the youth in many states of the country, Akwa Ibom inclusive, the government of Akwa Ibom State has addressed this with the recent passing to the law “Akwa Ibom Youth Development Fund Bill”. The bill has been lauded by stakeholders as one of the best strides the administration of Udom Gabriel Emmanuel has taken and encouraged the government to ensure that the implementation of the law is handled by competent hands in the capacity building space.
With lots of potentials, the bill has the capacity to diversify the state’s economy from oil and gas which it’s known for to other sectors like Information Communication Technology (ICT), Agro allied industries with the youth as the drivers of this new economic narrative. The issue of implementation has been a sore point in some of the great laws that we make in this country, the Governor must look at those that has built capacity in the state from ICT to Agro allied industries to form a think-tank committee that would ensure the smooth realization of the law.
Speaking on the significance of the bill, the Speaker of the House, Onofiok Luke said that with the passage of the Akwa Ibom Youth Development Fund Bill, it has demonstrated that the state is desirous to carry everybody along. He also added that the bill has the capacity to leapfrog the state to a manpower exporter especially in the non-oil and gas based sector. “The bill is designed to create jobs and build capacity and also bring forth greater opportunities for our teeming youths”, said Luke.
The founder and Chief Executive Officer of Start Innovation Hub, Hanson Johnson added that with the bill in place, it would cater for the youths by creating a sustainable youth based economy with proper policy framework that would focus on employment generation and scaling entrepreneurs in the state. In his word “I commend the leadership of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly for their commitment to youth development in the state by passing the Youth Development Fund Bill in to law. I was happy when I learnt that the bill has been passed into law. I hope that the implementation of this wonderful Bill would be done by those that have shown competence in capacity building in the state. “
Failure to think of the best way to deliver the benefits of this bill would be inimical to the government. The bill would etch the name of the governor in gold if well delivered. “Akwa Ibom Youth Development Fund Bill is one of the vital tools that would be of help to the governor. We congratulate the government for taking this initiative, the impact of this bill would be massive and it would help the state to achieve its ambition in diversifying the state to other viable non energy sectors. The bill would reduce the growing level of militancy in youths and checkmate restiveness,” Johnson added
The youths in the state have over time demonstrated that they have what it takes to deliver. With one of the most vibrant ICT hubs in the region and other agro allied projects in the state. The bill would be looking at funding start-ups to scale , apart from capacity building in the state. “I am working directly with young people and I know a couple of youths in the state who have shown a lot of promises and have developed prototypes of their ideas. I am on ground and the creativity of these youths are impressive but they lack the capacity to scale or launch because of paucity of funds which this bill would address. I am seeing Akwa Ibom State bringing forth successful entrepreneurs in coming years. With this bill in place, we are envisaging a better future for our youths, if well handled”, concluded Johnson Hanson.
Anthony Emeka Nwosu