ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, YENAGOA
Bayelsa State government in partnership with a European consortium is set to train 2,500 and employ 4,000 indigenes of the state.
The initiative has led to the state government signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a European fishing consortium that is made up of some Nigerian firms.
The deal with the consortium, African Atlantic Gulf of Guinea Fisheries (AAGGF), was facilitated by the Federal Government through the office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta, Senator Ita Enang.
At the signing ceremony in Government House, Yenagoa, Governor Douye Diri said that the pact would generate employment for no fewer than 4,000 youths and that 2,500 would be trained in fish farming and given European Union certification.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, on Thursday, quoted the governor as assuring the consortium of his administration’s support and expressed the hope that the MoU would translate into a workable contractual agreement.
He listed the benefits of the pact to include training of 2,500 youths by the Greece-based University of Patras and award of European Union standard certification.
Diri also said the deal involved creation of 4,000 jobs in the first year as well as construction of a boat building yard with trawlers and fish processing plant of over 20,000-metric tonne capacity alongside a 300-hectare offshore aquaculture farm.
He called on the youths to take advantage of the opportunity rather than dissipating energy on profitless ventures.
Diri also called on other foreign investors to take a cue from African Atlantic Gulf of Guinea Fisheries by exploring the investment opportunities that abound in the state.
Describing Bayelsa as one of the most peaceful states in the country, the governor assured foreign and local investors of the needed support for their business in the state.
In his remarks, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, David Alagoa, said the consortium would create at least 4,000 jobs in its first year as well as establish three factories in the state.
He listed the factories to include a boat building yard, which is expected to build 250 boats for fishing and security, fish processing factory with 20,000-metric tonne capacity and 300 hectares offshore aquaculture farm.
He said the agreement with the AAGGF specified that 50 per cent of the catch would be sold in the country while the other 50 per cent would be for export.
In his remarks, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta, Senator Ita Enang, disclosed that the deal would earn foreign exchange, protect Nigeria’s currency as well as train and employ citizens in lucrative ventures as well as providing food for Nigerians.