Chamber urges Delta govt. to sustain empowerment programmes

Mrs Patricia Idiakhoa, President, Warri Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (WACCIMA), has appealed to the Delta government to sustain its training and empowerment programmes to address unemployment in the state.Idiakhoa made the appeal on the sideline at the “Warri Business Linkages Forum” organised by the association on Friday in Warri.“Government has been very supportive, it should continue to train the people and get the youth off the streets,” she said.Addressing newsmen, Idiakhoa said the essence of the forum was to link small scale business operators with the medium ones, meet potential buyers and also share ideas on how to grow businesses.“The Warri Business Linkages Forum will provide networking opportunities and platform for SMEs for participants to meet with potential large buyers.” It will showcase market opportunities in the various targeted sectors, link service providers to end users.“It will educate entrepreneurs on business supports aimed at developing and improving their businesses.“We are partnering other organisations to ensure businesses are improved in Warri and environs.“We have been focusing on oil but now we are diverting into the non-oil sector especially agriculture, not just farming alone but adding values to it.“Some people believe that Warri is not safe for doing business but with this kind of programme, we are creating the awareness that Warri is safe for business,” she said.The WACCCIMA boss said creating the right ideas and harnessing them properly could translate into wealth.She urged the SMEs to always create the right ideas and also meet with the Business Service Providers (BSP) for guidance.Also speaking, Mrs Liv Oluwadare, representative of the USAID, identified lack of enabling business environment, access to finance, market, improved quality standard and packaging as some of the challenges confronting business operators in Nigeria.Oluwadare who spoke on the topic, “Feed the future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activities”, said that the programme provided good opportunities for the SMEs to create the right linkages to improve on their businesses.“The programme is a springboard for businesses. It is a good opportunity for them to create the necessary linkages and activities that will facilitate the improvement in their business processes.” USAID creates business environment, improved access to finance and facilitates investment.“For instance, if you need fund to grow your business, we fill in the gap for you.“We also do capacity building activities, provide technical assistance and support; we assist businesses to create the necessary linkages to access finance,” she said. (NAN)

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