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AKEES IS NOT A LOBBIED ENTERPRISE – UFOT EBONG

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The Akwa Ibom State Government has assured youths of the state that one of its pet projects, Akwa Ibom Enterprise and Employment Scheme (AKEES), designed to create 10,000 jobs in the next five years, will not be hijacked by politicians as it is focused on curbing the problem of capital flight of domestic goods and food items.
This assurance was given by the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Technical Matters and Due Process, Elder Ufot Ebong, during a Town Hall meeting recently in Uyo, where he cleared the air on the misconception youths of the state had concerning the sustainability of AKEES, stressing that the “scheme is solidly built on two conventional business models or systems incorporating technical and vocational skills acquisition and entrepreneurial training.”
Elder Ebong strongly emphasized that apparently AKEES is not a lobbied business scheme and that is why “we said let people go online,www.akyees.com, and fill a form to be part of AKEES…, so there is no political slot available under AKEES. It is open to all Akwa Ibom people.”
While assuring participants and youths of the State that modalities have been put in place to avoid hijacking of the scheme by politicians, he reiterated the fact that “AKEES is all about reawakening the spirit of enterprise in all Akwa Ibom youths.”
The Due Process boss added that the two models of AKEES are the Franchise system as exemplified by supermarkets and ice cream sellers and the common facility system as demonstrated by NIKE and ADIDAS.
Speaking on the achievements of the scheme since its inception 3 months ago, Elder Ebong stated that the greatest achievement in the first quarter has been the high level of understanding of what AKEES is all about among the youths of the state.
He explained that “AKEES focuses on creating jobs for hardworking youths and not to share money.”
He highlighted on specific vacancies that are available in AKEES which, according to him, included baking, cooking, catering, bead making, shoe making, wood work/carpentry, welding/metal work, tailoring, plumbing/piping, painting/ interior, décor, hair making, auto mechanics/ driving as well as electrical/ electronics.
Speaking further on the future of the scheme, he expressed optimism that it would record employment of 1000 persons per month in the next quarter.
Currently out of the 11,598 persons registered only 1,013 persons have been employed in 85 businesses drawn from the 31 local government areas of the state.
Explaining the low number of persons employed currently, Elder Ebong said “it is due to the tedious process of ensuring that serious and hardworking youths of integrity are employed to engender the sustainability of the scheme.”
Responding, a representative of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Lucy Ekpeyong, who described the programme as encouraging, expressed satisfaction with the model of the AKEES scheme.
According to Ekpenyong, “since AKEES does not work with physical cash, it is focused on people ready to do business and not hustlers who do not keep records.”
In attendance at the Town Hall meeting were youths drawn from the 31 Local Government Areas of the state and small enterprise owners.

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