By Jonathan Ugbal: Government House Correspondent
The Federal Government says it will use the Cross River Garment and Textile factory as a center for its skill development programs.
Labor Minister, Chris Ngige stated this Thursday in Calabar when he visited the factory alongside the governor, Senator Ben Ayade.
“From what I have seen here, all our skills trainees of our Skills Development Program will be brought here for training. This garment factory will now be used as an apprenticeship center for our skills trainees. And because the South-South Zonal center of the National Directorate of Employment is in Calabar, both Cross Riverians and trainees from other states of the zone will be trained here. There will also be funds to support the factory.” Ngige said.
The former governor of Anambra state told journalists that he was “dumbfounded” at the sight of the factory and the machinery in place and commended Governor Ayade for the initiative which he said other governors need to imbibe to curb the ‘feeding bottle’ syndrome.
He said that; “We can put an end to the cap in hand or what I call ‘feeding bottle’ syndrome which other governors have reduced themselves to if they can imbibe the Ayade example. We want that to stop. He has also proved himself to be workers’ friendly too because apart from paying workers’ salary every month, he pays promptly too. From what I have heard from the workers’ here, he has not exposed me to be going to negotiate for three working days in a week work with workers.”
Ngige who is in Calabar to commission the South South Zonal Skills Acquisition Center said the “financial engineering” employed by Governor Ayade was what the “APC-led administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is preaching, which is backward integration. We do not need to be importing everything into the country anymore, because of the scarce foreign exchange”, adding that, “For three thousand persons to be taken out of the army of unemployed is a startling number accounting for garment and textile sector. This is besides the humongous number that will be engaged in cotton farm located in the Ogoja and Obudu axis from what I saw in the work plan.”
The governor who was visibly elated at the comments made by the Minister told journalists that it went a long way to prove that the choice of the project was divine.
In what seemed a response to criticisms trailing the authenticity of the projects paperwork, governor Ayade said that; “God is great and I give all glory to God because at the fullness of time, we will put the liars to shame and put those whose pleasure is to stain people’s name because the social media cost you nothing to generate stories and send it to different organs and of course, the society likes to hear that kind of negatives news. You celebrate negative news.
“But, the truth is that anybody who has good conscience, if he steps into this premises, just look at the road, the cost of constructing the road in this marshy ground. When we started, they said it was all a lie, there is no garment factory, when it started, they said it belonged to somebody, now they say the budget has been swallowed and it is very ungodly to seek destruction” Ayade said.
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