The federal government through its Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) is set to empower 2,500 Niger Delta youths through industrial fishing and associated sea foods production.
The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Program (PAP), Mr. Charles Dokubo, disclosed this in a statement Saturday.
Dokubo said the National Development Programme for the establishment of industrial fishing and associated seafood production in Nigeria would set up a joint venture with a group of local and international partners.
He informed that a delegation of the federal government “is set to depart for Greece and Costa Rica on a Facility Inspection as part of the implementation of the project.
“The delegation will be made up of the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta (OSAPND), the Office of the Vice President (OVP), the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (EGRP), Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), House Committee on Niger Delta, Africa Atlantic Gulf of Guinea Fisheries Limited (AGGF) and Concept Amadeus Limited (CAL).
“This is in line with the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed to establish an industrial fishing and processing company in a joint venture run by a consortium of Greek and Nigerian Partners led by the Presidential Amnesty Program”, he said.
He said “In this regard, 2,500 delegates will be trained here in Nigeria by the University of Patras, a Greek University specialising in fisheries and aquaculture technology. the project was designed to acquaint the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) Beneficiaries with modern day fishing using Trawlers.
“At the end of the 3 months Training, they will be awarded European Union (EU) Certificates in Fishing. Furthermore, the Greek partners will build the boats locally as directed by the ERGP during consultations. In effect, a boat building yard would be set up in the Niger Delta for a 25 year period.
“2,000 of the successful Trainees will be employed fulltime and exited from the program thereby reducing the stipend outlay by N1.9 billion per annum.”
Dokubo said the sector contributes to food, nutrition, security and provides jobs particularly for coastal populations which are often among the poorest and most vulnerable, noting that fisheries play a significant social and nutritional role in Africa.
“On the average globally, fish and fish products account for 18 percent of animal protein intake. Nigeria spends an estimated $1 billion dollars importing fish and fish products into the country annually. This project, in addition is expected to lead to a considerable reduction of this expenditure.”
He also expressed satisfaction that the project is in line with a deliberate effort by government to promote diversification of the economy beyond oil.
Dokubo said the project would provide a clear convergence of domestic development and national security objectives while catalysing large volumes of foreign direct investment into the country.
He said, “This is the first time that a large volume of our ex-agitators will be offloaded to full employment at once. The assurance that they will be EU certified means that they can work anywhere in the world beyond our shores.
“It creates a regional architecture that places emphasis on stability, economic and sustainable development. In the long term, it will position Nigeria to contribute more meaningfully to a market driven blue economy framework for growth and prosperity within the Gulf of Guinea.
“I thank all our partners and promise to ensure that we do everything within our capabilities to make sure that construction takes off by September. In Greece, the Boat Building Yard, University of Patras, and other technical partners, as well as the Greek Government will be visited while in Costa Rica, the exact replica of the plant to be built in Nigeria which is a 110 fish per minute processing plant and mega aquaculture centre will be inspected.