As part of efforts at promoting youth entrepreneurship, the University has reiterated its commitment to youth mentorship. Giving this assurance was the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Kolawole Salako, during a 3-day Youth Export Mentorship Programme, organised by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Abuja in collaboration with the Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies (CENTS) of the University with the theme “Maximisation of Export Opportunities by Nigerian Youths”. Represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development), Prof. Clement Adeofun, the Vice-Chancellor said the University was pleased to partner NEPC, to maximise export opportunities for Nigerian youths in a bid to secure their future.
The Vice-Chancellor advised participants to remain steadfast and be focused, as nothing good in life comes easy, adding that challenges were part of success, which can be surmounted by having the right attitude. He encouraged the mentees to make the best use of the opportunity provided during the mentorship programme to secure a bright, rewarding and fruitful future for themselves and the upcoming generations. The Director of CENTS, Prof. Babatunde Adewumi stated that the University had partnered NEPC for the mentoring of budding entrepreneurs because it is an essential component of any sound training programme that would enable mentees learn fast and reduce avoidable mistakes.
According to Prof. Adewumi, the advantages of mentorship include having wide exposure and contacts with important entrepreneurs in addition to learning multi-disciplinary skills. The Director charged the mentees to be diligent during the training to get the best out of the programme while urging NEPC and other stakeholders to ensure its continuity. The Trade Promotion Advisor, Abeokuta Export Office, Mr. Samson Idowu informed that NEPC had developed a strategy for a bright future for Nigeria and took the bold initiative of mapping out a “zero-oil plan” as a strategy, which focuses on export, as a primary driver of the economy. The “zero-oil plan”, according to him, had been incorporated into the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) by identifying 22 priority products and markets, which if actively worked upon, would boost the economy and generate N30 billion annually for Nigeria.
Mr. Idowu said the plan of NEPC was to transform graduands of the mentorship programme into an Export Club that would champion the emergence of the first export hub for the country, as he called on all stakeholders to join hands with the council to make the initiative successful. The Head, Development Finance Office, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Abeokuta, Dr. (Mrs.) Oluyemisi Olukoya said her bank, in its developmental efforts at reducing food import bill, had taken seriously matters on youth unemployment and unsustainable economic development by rolling out many interventions to cater for the different sectors of the Nigerian economy at an all-inclusive interest rates of not more than 9 percent, per annum.
She affirmed that the Export Stimulation Facility (ESF) and Export Development Facility (EDF) of CBN were part of the interventions aimed at diversifying the economy from oil and to expedite the growth and development of the non-oil export sector. “Youths are encouraged to harness the opportunities that abound in the exportation of goods and services, as provided by the Central Bank of Nigeria and Nigeria Export-Import Bank”, she stated. Goodwill messages were also delivered by officials from the Ogun State Ministry of Agriculture and the Technology Incubation Centre, among others.