… as Gov. Diri assents to Medical Residency Training Bill

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has offered a N200 million support to Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Bayelsa State.

Leader of the UNDP team, Joyce Oboro, who presented a cheque to Governor Douye Diri at the Government House in Yenagoa on Monday, said the objective of the initiative, which was co-sponsored by the European Union, is to mitigate the effect of the current socio-economic challenges through the empowerment of medium and small businesses across various sectors.

She said the components of the programme include financial support and capacity building while the cluster-based approach will be adopted to achieve set objectives.

Expressing the optimism that the project will stimulate economic growth and improve the standard of living of Bayelsans, Oboro urged well-meaning groups and individuals to key into the project.

Governor Douye Diri, in his remarks, welcomed the partnership between the government and the UNDP to develop MSMEs in the state.

According to a statement by Daniel Alabrah, Chief Press Secretary to the Bayelsa State Governor, the Bayelsa governor expressed delight over the partnership and said his administration was already doing a lot in developing and supporting MSMEs.

He said in line with the prosperity mantra of his administration, the government had trained many Bayelsans and empowered them with starter packs as well as offered grants of N200,000 monthly to 420 small business owners across the 105 wards as part of its effort to encourage small businesses.

He assured the UNDP delegation that the state will play its role in the partnership, insisting that whatever will add value to the lives of Bayelsans his administration will take it seriously.

The state helmsman equally acknowledged the support of the UNDP when Bayelsa battled a terrible flood in 2022, describing the organisation as a true friend of the state.

He said: “For us as an administration, our mantra has been shared prosperity. Our people have to prosper in all aspects of their lives. So we are very happy to meet development-oriented organisations like yours. Let me acknowledge the UNDP for its support to our people during the flood in 2022. We have been partners.

“Going forward, I believe we will have a robust relationship with you. We are very well prepared to partner and play our role to ensure we attract whatever is due to us.

“In Bayelsa, we started a programme three years ago and gave out grants to encourage small businesses. We paid N200,000 each to 420 SMEs monthly across the 105 wards in the state until the end of our first tenure. Now we want to evaluate the level of success of the scheme.

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“I am happy with the aspect of capacity building, training and mentorship. As a government, we have been doing that and after training we also give them starter packs. So you are coming to an area we consider a priority.

“It is good to build other infrastructure but the human beings to manage them are more important. That is why as a government we are taking it seriously and I believe that this is one partnership that will bring succour to our people.”

Meanwhile, Governor Diri on Monday, signed the Medical Residency Training Law 2024, making it the first state in Nigeria with such a beneficial law for resident doctors.

The executive bill sent to the Bayelsa State House of Assembly provides for funding support for resident doctors to specialise in specific fields.

The governor commended the House of Assembly for giving the bill accelerated hearing, considering its importance.

He said his administration had always prioritised the welfare of its workers and will continue to provide the enabling environment for resident doctors whose profession is threatened by brain drain.

The Bayelsa helmsman, who expressed delight that Bayelsa was the first state with such a law, promised that every aspect of the new legislation will be implemented.

He said: “I know this is one area that our unionists have been very interested in. Every meeting they have had with me, this issue was tabled and I promised to do something about it. I am happy that this went as an executive bill to the state assembly and the assembly expeditiously attended to it, knowing its importance.

“This government prioritises the welfare of our workers. If our workers in the medical profession see this law as something that must be attended to and we agree with them for the benefit of the larger society, today we have put pen to paper and it is now a law.”

He appreciated the medical unions for demanding for what would enhance the status of resident doctors and the whole of society.

In his remarks, the Majority Leader of the House of Assembly, Monday Obolo-Bubou, said the legislature saw the importance of the bill as a legislation that will boost the performance of health workers in the state and gave it speedy passage.

He explained that the law will build the capacity of resident doctors that embark on regular training to equip the manpower for better service delivery to patients.

Chairman of the House Committee on Health, Dr. Oyinke Godbless, also told Government House correspondents that by the law, more surgeons, anaesthetists and specialist doctors would emerge as a result of the funding the state government would channel into the medical sector.