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NEC endorses $617.7m i-DICE programme across states

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NEC endorses $617.7m i-DICE programme across states

The National Economic Council (NEC) has endorsed the implementation of the 617.7 million dollars Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (i-DICE) programme across the 36 states and the FCT.

This was part of the resolutions reached at the 140th meeting of the council held virtually on Thursday and chaired by Vice President Kashim Shettima.

Speaking during the meeting, the Vice President declared the firm resolve of the President Bola Tinubu’s administration to leave a legacy of prosperity and opportunity for all Nigerians.

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He told state governors to nominate persons to represent each geo-political zone at the zonal level and focal persons to lead the implementation of the programme in their respective states.

He assured that, as the scheme becomes operational in the coming weeks, implementation across the country would be diligent and forthright.

Shettima assured that the administration would not rest on its oars until the citizens begin to bask in the opportunities they were promised, noting that it is the reason why the government is prioritising skill acquisition and job creation.

He specifically noted that prioritising whatever offers Nigerians a means to earn a living with dignity was part of President Tinubu’s eight-point agenda.

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” But two things are clear: we won’t ever regret paving the way for the acquisition of skills that meet the needs of the global markets.

” Secondly, our actions today will shape the economic landscape of tomorrow, and so it’s incumbent upon us to ensure that we leave a legacy of prosperity and opportunity for all Nigerians.

” When we empower entrepreneurs and small business owners, we unlock the potential for innovation, job creation, and economic growth.

” By providing access to financing, training, and mentorship programs, we unleash the entrepreneurial spirit that lies within every Nigerian, catalysing a wave of economic prosperity that benefits us all.

” We cannot achieve these without inclusivity and equitable access to opportunities. This is the ladder we must offer to every disadvantaged citizen,” he said.

Shettima noted that the government had moved beyond mere deliberations to the implementation phase.

” My confidence in our ability to fix our nation stems from the unity of purpose this Council has demonstrated.

” We have rejected binary thinking, resisted divisions, and relegated self-interest in favour of a shared vision for progress,” he said.

Shettima implored the governors and other council members to remain constant in executing initiatives that will help to take the citizens out of their present condition.

” This is a delicate period to occupy offices like ours. We cannot remind ourselves enough that we have come at a time that tests the depth of our leadership and demands our most rational wisdom to make a difference.

” Your Excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, we must remain consistent in implementing the initiatives that alleviate the suffering of our citizens and be accountable in doing so.

” We must also ensure that interventions we deploy are non-discriminatory and favour all stakeholders, with no part of our communities or nation left lagging,” he stated.

In his presentation on the i-DICE programme, the Executive Director in charge of SMES at the Bank of Industry, Mr Shekarau Omar said the i-DICE programme was aims to deliver on the promise by the Tinubu administration to create millions of jobs in the technology space.

Omar explained that the programme is in support of government’s agenda to create more sustainable jobs, diversify the economy and equip digital and creative incubation hubs/innovation centers across the country.

He listed African Development Bank (AfDB), the French Development Agency (AFD) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) among organisations that would fund the programme.

According to him, sources of funding of the programme include; AfDB, 170 million dollars; IsDB, 70 million dollars ; AFD, 116 million dollars; as well as Bank of Industry (BoI) on behalf of Federal Government of Nigeria.

” Others sources are 45.50 million dollars; Fund Manager (For Equity Fund only), 8.70 million dollars, and private investors, 205 million dollars.”

On the impact of the programme, Omar said 1,269,757 youths would be trained and certified in ICT skills, with at least 25,000 youths trained in each state and the FCT.

He noted that, at least, 100,000 jobs will be created per state while about 5,581,231 indirect jobs will be created through i-DICE interventions nationwide

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