Diamond Bank Plc, a leading retail Bank in Nigeria, in fulfilment of its Employee Volunteering Programme (EVP), donated equipment to Lagos State Government to support the State’s skills acquisition programme aimed at providing skills for millions of unemployed and under- employed youths in the State. The Lagos State government has twenty Skills Acquisition Centres across the State.
The Employee Volunteering Programme is a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative whereby Diamond Bank staff offer free financial literacy training to artisans, in keeping with the Bank’s policy of building capacity within the Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprise (MSMES) sector.
Receiving the Diamond Bank team, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Deputy Governor of Lagos State, noted that the skills acquisition programme is in line with the government’s efforts at empowering the youths and bringing them into the economic production chain.
Recounting her experience in the hands of street miscreants, popularly known as “area boys”, she said: “Following my experience with area boys many years ago, I developed a deep interest in the issue and started the first Skills Acquisition Centre as Commissioner for Women Affairs in 2004. Today, we have 20 centres spread across the State attracting students’ enrollment from various parts of the country including neighbouring countries like Togo and Benin Republic.” While appreciating the Bank for the donation, she pointed that the Lagos State government is interested in public-private partnerships aimed at moving the State forward.
“By this kind gesture, Diamond Bank has contributed to making the state more secure because happy and empowered youths contribute to the growth of society, so lives and businesses are more secure and profitable” she added.
Victor Ezenwoko, Executive Director, Regional Businesses of the Bank, who led the Diamond Bank team to the Deputy Governor’s office, stated that the visit was motivated by the willingness of the Bank to give back to the State and help enhance the conducive business environment that has continued to reign following appreciable reduction in the rate of crime since the establishment of the Skills Acquisition Centres.
“The Skills Acquisition Centres align with Diamond Bank’s strategic focus of promoting MSMSE in the country. From our experience in dealing with stakeholders in the MSME sector, we recognize that these are very hardworking Nigerians who constitute a significant portion in the daily economic activity that goes on in the country,” Ezenwoko noted.
Speaking further, he pointed that Diamond Bank is very passionate about developing and equipping MSMSE operators because of their immense contribution to the mass production value chain.
“Since we began the EVP programme in 2013, Diamond Bank employees have volunteered in many skills training centres offering financial literacy training to the students free of charge. This is based on our Corporate Social Responsibility thrust of promoting women and youth development as they form the bulk of participants at the sessions. We recognize that the Lagos State Government is bringing positive change to the lives of these people by engaging them to be able to take care of themselves and also become employers of labour. That is the reason we are partnering government’s efforts on this laudable initiative”, he stated.
Items donated include audiovisual equipment, teaching aids, cookers, ovens and fire extinguishers.