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Vice-Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Governor of Delta State Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, yesterday said Nigeria could leverage the high success rate of girl-child empowerment programmes to grow Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the country.

Okowa who, stated this at a Business Breakfast where he was with the party’s Presidential Candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, in Abuja, said that girl-child empowerment was a veritable tool to rejig the almost comatose economy as results had shown the success rate of the girl-child in businesses.

He stated that his administration in Delta had recorded superlative success rate of 95 per cent with girl-child empowerment as against the national success rate of 20-25 per cent with other empowerment programmes.

The Delta State Governor suggested that this success recorded in the state was made possible by the introduction of mentoring and monitoring programmes for the young entrepreneurs.

He said that Nigeria could benefit immensely from Delta’s success in its girls’ schemes by extending empowerment programmes to women and girl-child in the country.

“In Delta State, we have taken time to ensure that women became more visible in terms of entrepreneurship.

“We have a special programme to develop our girl-child – the Girl-Child Entrepreneurship and Skills Training Programme (GEST).

“I can confirm that since we started it, our success rate has been so high, very much unlike other programmes that governments have run in the past.

“We train them and ensure that they are properly processed and we provide them with starter-packs and we continue with mentoring and monitoring.

“As at the last time we did an analysis of the success rate, we had over 95 per cent success rate. The average success rate in government empowerment programmes is about 20-25 per cent.

“When we entered into the mentoring and monitoring programme in our several job creation outfits that we have, we went up to about 65 and 70 per cent.

“But when we selectively took the girl-child between the ages of 18 years and 30 years we found out that we could get success rate of over 95 per cent.

“So, if we pay special attention to the girl-child as our candidate Atiku Abubakar has spoken about, I am sure that we are going to turn around this country,” he said.


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