At least 1050 indigenes of Akwa Ibom State have so far been employed under the Akwa Ibom Enterprise and employment scheme (AKEES) which was launched by the state Government, Mr Udom Emmanuel, barely two months ago.
The Senior Special 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, on Wednesday.
Echoes of Akwa Ibom state is a radio programme of the Atlantic FM which deals with public concerns
AKEES was established by the state Government in December 2015 primarily to create job opportunities for the people of the state.
Mr Ebong said the idea of AKEES was partly to end the era where youths, and even graduates queue to be appointed as aides to the Governor to earn quick money; even when they would have to queue and become beggars in the process.
“There were no apprentices any more, graduate youths were just queuing to be appointed aides to make quick money, even when they have to run after other aides, younger and lower than them academically; they wouldn’t mind ,provided they make fast money.
“Governor Udom Emmanuel sees this as not good enough, he is committed to reawakening the spirit of entrepreneurship in the people of the state and this is what gave birth to AKEES.
“In the cause of research, we found out that it took people like Dangote 30 years ago to strive to get to where he is today,” Ebong
What is needed in the state is job creation and sustainable 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.
Mr Ebong assured that the scheme, which targets a minimum of 10,000 persons to be employed before the end of the administration, would tackle the problem of capital flight especially as it has to do with domestic goods 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.
The event which had in attendance some AKEES employees/beneficiaries, prospective employees, students, applicants and representative from state and national agencies, and new media practitioners was open to an interactive setting where people expressed fears on whether the project would live up to its expectations or would be hijacked by Government officials to benefit the privileged.
In his response, Ebong emphasized that “This is not a man know man business that was why we said let people go online on http://www.akyees.com and fill a form to be a part or send a text message to the numbers issued on Akees media materials near you or even listen to the radio to follow up, so there is no political slot or placement available under Akees, it is open to all Akwa Ibom people.
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 quite 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, success stories from AKEES will be a good platform for accessing such grants.