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Vice President Shettima Launches OTNI, Commissions Gombe BPO Centre — Africa Daily News

By Abdulwahab Muhammad, Bauchi 

... Praises Inuwa's Foresight,  Urges Nigerian Governors To Copy Gombe Model

...Gombe Commits Over N1bn in Funding,  Equipping of Facility To Train 2,000 Youths For Global Job Outsourcing Opportunities 

The Vice President of Nigeria, Sen. Kashim Shettima, has launched the Outsource To Nigeria Initiative (OTNI) and performed the official commissioning of the Gombe  Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Centre,  where about 2,000 job opportunities would be created for vibrant and talented youths in the State.

Speaking at the event, the Vice President said the nation has embarked on a journey of self-discovery, stressing that it is a paradox for any country to possess the advantages Nigeria has and still rank in the middle or at the bottom of the economic chain.

He added that the launching of the ONTI has provided a gateway to the world and a reminder to Nigerians that the nation is an epicentre of knowledge, an incubator of innovation, and a nurturer of brilliance, saying "We can’t take over the world if we don’t know the road to the future, and so we are honoured to join you in this quest."

"For too long, we have overlooked the treasure within our demographic dividends. For too long, we have underestimated our role in the knowledge economy. Far beyond the magnitude of our population and the global utility of our proficiency in English, lies a profound characteristic—the Nigerian spirit. From the bustling cityscape of Aberdeen to the vibrant landscapes of Melbourne and the financial hubs of Zurich, this Nigerian spirit of excellence thrives. It is, therefore, time to recognize our potential and embrace this unique identity as we set out to explore the markets eager for our unique contributions".

He further remarked that OTNI is here to connect global companies with the abundant talents and capabilities inherent in Nigeria, as the initiative marks a strategic leap forward, positioning Nigeria as an emerging outsourcing powerhouse ready to make an indelible mark on the global economic landscape.

While celebrating the tech-savvy youth as they join the vehicle to limitless opportunities, Vice President Kashim Shettima called on global business leaders and partners to join the nation in utilising the avenue to serve existing mutual interests.

The Vice President used the occasion to heap commendations on Governor Inuwa Yahaya for his administrative ingenuity towards bringing the Business Process Outsourcing BPO to fruition in Gombe State, calling on other Governors to emulate him and copy the Gombe model.

He further praised the Governor for his exemplary leadership, which he noted has propelled the state to new heights, noting that his steadfast commitment to development led to achieving remarkable progress in Gombe state under his administration.

In his remarks, Gombe State Governor Inuwa Yahaya explained that the launching and commissioning of Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) in Gombe heralded a transformative journey towards positioning the state as a premier destination for business process outsourcing in Nigeria. 

Governor Yahaya said that his government had donated one of its skill acquisition centres and provided about N1 billion in funding for equipping the facility, in its commitment to leveraging on information technology and digital economy to harness the creative energies of our youth.

He said the facility would accommodate 2000 individuals, representing a monumental opportunity for job creation and skill development, particularly for the youths of Gombe State.

The Governor explained that the occasion is a testament to his administration unwavering commitment towards fostering economic growth, innovation, and job creation, in line with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda.

"Since coming to power in 2019, our administration has developed and implemented business-friendly reforms in order to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive, thereby fostering a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation. This is evidenced in the emergence of Gombe State as number 1 on PEBEC ease of doing business ranking in 2021 and 2022, our recent ranking as number 1 in Nigeria on socioeconomic performance, as well as numerous other rankings that serve as recognition of our outstanding success in transforming the fortunes of our dear state."

He further added that the BPO center being commissioned was one of the numerous gains of the maiden Gombe Investment Summit held in October 2022, noting that with a capacity to accommodate 2,000 individuals, the BPO Center represents a monumental opportunity for job creation and skill development, particularly for the youth of Gombe State and beyond which was the sole objective of the Gombe Investment Summit.

He observed that in a rapidly-changing landscape of the 21st-century economy where digital literacy and technological proficiency are paramount, the center will also serve as a hub of innovation and learning, through specialized training programs and hands-on experience in areas such as customer service, platform management, technical support, digital marketing, research and analytics, stressing that the youth will acquire invaluable skills that are in high demand in today's global marketplace.

"As we celebrate the commissioning of the Gombe BPO center, I would like to reflect on our broader vision for unlocking Gombe's human capital potential. From our investments in education and skills development, to support for youth empowerment and entrepreneurship, to the provision of affordable healthcare and social services. Through various transformative initiatives, we built over 1400 classrooms, employed over 1000 teachers, upgraded 5 secondary schools to mega-school standard, built integrated almajiri centers in each senatorial district, and mopped up over 350,000 out-of-school children and enrolled into formal education. We also provided skills training for thousands of youths under the At-Risk-Children project, as well as billions of naira in grants to various MSMEs across the state."

The Governor further remarked that the decision to launch the ‘Outsource To Nigeria Initiative (OTNI)’ in Gombe is not a mere coincidence but a testament to the state’s burgeoning potential and the exemplary strides his administration have made in fostering an enabling environment for technology innovation and economic growth.

The Governor expressed his appreciation to all stakeholders, especially the Vice President, who have contributed to the realization of the ground-breaking achievement, assuring investors that Gombe is open and ready for business.

Delivering his remarks, the Jigawa State Governor, Umar A. Namadi, who was a special guest at the event, expressed his gratitude to the Vice President for launching the ONTI and BPO Centre, acknowledging its crucial role in national economic growth and development, while assuring that his state will emulate Gombe to replicate the same initiative for the good of his people.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Secretary to Gombe State Government, Professor Ibrahim Abubakar Njodi described the initiative as a significant step towards diversifying the state's economy and achieving holistic economic development, emphasizing Gombe's delight in hosting the event as he highlighted the strategic ocation of the state within the Northeast subregion.

In her speech, the Founder/CEO of Outsource Global, Mrs. Amal Hassan, commended the Tinubu-Shettima and the Inuwa Yahaya led administrations for supporting the establishment of the initiative, which aligns with the agenda of both governments for revitalizing economy and creating job opportunities to youth. 

She appreciated Governor Inuwa Yahaya for the support his administration has been given throughout the process of ensuring the BPO Centre is commissioned in Gombe, pledging to support the government's strive in providing sustainable employment to the young population in the state.

The Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Abdullahi Inuwa, the OTNI Coordinator, Office of the Vice President, Dr. Usman Mohammed,  the Chairman of the Governing Board of Outsource Global, Ahmadu Musa Kida and Mr. Uzo Eziukwu, MD/CEO, Blue Tag Group among other speakers, all highlighted the significance of the initiative, promising to support the initiative to progress for the betterment of Nigeria.

The BPO Centre was later commissioned by the Vice President shortly after launching the OTNI.

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