As the assent of the Akwa Ibom Youth Development Fund Bill by the state governor becomes a pressing need, the Youth Advocacy Cluster paid an advocacy to Mr. Gabriel Ukpe, SSA/Director of Foreign Direct Investment at the Governor’s office. The visit was to expose the content and benefits of the Bill. The visit which happened on 8th May 2019 gave opportunity for Mr Gabriel to applaud the efforts and the progress of the bill. He however, interrogated the content of the bill and gave the following inputs:
- 1.0 A survey to get a database on the skill needs of artisans and youths generally should be carried out, to help inform a start point for implementation, e.g establishment of an entrepreneurial school to train youths on the top 5 skill needs.
- 2.0 He raised concerns about the board owing to the fact that they would be full time and as such will need to be paid.
- 3.0 Beneficiary from the fund should be based on meritocracy and not on the basis of gender, citing that you might have more than 50% of beneficiaries to be females so far they merit it and not putting a limit of 40%
- 4.0 PWDs will require a special kind of skill training different from the usual as such each type of disability should be put into consideration by identifying the various special needs.
- 5.0 Try to go through the 2019 manifesto of the Governor to tie the already existing government initiated projects with the content of the bill for a possible merger.
He also highlighted the existence of a law, the Akwa Ibom State Micro Enterprise Development Agency Law which also promotes funds for SME startups in the state. He asked that the team gets a copy of the law, compare and contrast to determine the difference between the law and our bill and come back to him with our findings. He committed to presenting the bill to the Governor if the difference found is significant. Finally, he gave the team an avenue to reach him when all tasks have been delivered.