The Federal Government has disbursed N125 million as loans to Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in Akwa Ibom.
The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, disclosed this at the Nationwide MSME Clinics for viable enterprises, Akwa Ibom Edition in Uyo on Saturday.
Osinbajo said “about 2,445 Akwa Ibom people have benefitted from the programme across 62 associations in the state.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the programme was organised by the Office of the Vice President in partnership with Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and the Akwa Ibom Government.
He said that the loan, an intervention programme of Bank of Industry (BOI) under Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) was to provide non interest credit facility to qualified Nigerians.
Represented by Mr Tola Johnson, the Technical Adviser to the Vice President on SMSE, Osinbajo said “Akwa Ibom is the 11th state that benefitted from FG’s MSME clinic.”
He said the essence of the programme was to bring together all regulators of MSME space to solve MSME related issues in any state.
The vice president added that the Federal Government would identify 100 good businesses and give them N500,000 each to facilitate their businesses.
“It is a single digit loan and for 24 months and five per cent interest rate, ” he said.
In his remarks, Gov. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom said the forum would discuss how much business enterprises could harness to drive the economic development.
He described micro businesses as the economic framework for building equitable corporate wealth for any polity.
Emmanuel said the workshop was designed to create synergies through networking, awareness promotion, marketing and export windows for participants.
The governor added that more than 30,000 Akwa Ibom people had benefitted from the state government’s skill acquisition programme.
He further said that the state government had committed huge resources to resolving soft loan facilities and outright business empowerment grants to various organised groups in the state.
Mrs Uloma Ike, the Group Head, Micro Enterprises of BOI, said GEEP had provided non interest loans of up to N100,000.
She explained that N50,000 each was targeted for first timers to qualify Nigerians in four target segments.
Uloma Ike, the Regional Coordinator of the bank, said the loans were part of efforts to grow small businesses to ensure improved standards of living, job creation and economic growth.
She explained that the bank had disbursed loans to enterprises to beneficiaries in the 36 states of the federation.
Ike said the intervention was in response to complaints by small business operators that over 80 per cent of micro enterprises that lacked access to affordable credit.
She noted that the beneficiaries of the MSME were market women, traders, artisans, youths and farmers.
The regional coordinator explained that GEEP being executed by BOI had mandate to reach 1.6 million beneficiaries in all 774 local government areas of Nigeria.
“Most importantly, we want to see micro businesses to grow. The growth of these businesses will lead to improved standards of living, and create more jobs and ultimately grow the economy of Akwa Ibom.