Niger state Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani-Bello on Monday flagged off the disbursement of a N2 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund in the state.
According to a statement by Jibrin Baba Ndace, Chief Press Secretary to Gov. Sani-Bello, the scheme, a joint effort with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was designed to boost the economy of the state and to provide job opportunities for its teeming youths.
Flagging off the disbursement of the first tranch of N1 billion of the scheme in Minna, the governor, according to the statement, said the loans are aimed at uplifting the people at the lowest rung of the society, which in turn will contribute immensely to boosting the Internally Generated Revenue of the state.
“It is our resolve to continue to support Small and Medium Enterprises as an avenue to stimulate economic growth create jobs and ensure that our youthful population is gainfully engaged.
“Our desire to focus on the SMEs is to help in the absorption of productive resources at all levels of the economy and contribute to the building of flexible economic system in which artisans all over the state are empowered to contribute to the economy of the state.
“This is to further demonstrate our commitment to providing all necessary avenues for the overall upliftment of the people.
“This first tranch of disbursement of loans to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises is part of CBN’s Development Fund aimed at creating financial inclusion, wealth and empowerment of our youths.”
According to him, “we have keyed into this initiative as part of our restoration agenda to empower our youthful population so that they become engaged in useful ventures that can guarantee self-reliance and even creators of job.”
He commended the effort of the state’s Small and Medium Enterprises Agency that led to the emergence of the first set of beneficiaries and called on the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the loan.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Investment, Commerce and Industry, Alh. Muhammad Mudi said the MSMEs loan is aimed at developing the Nigerian economy through social and political role in local employment creation, balance resources utilization, income generation, utilization of local technology and raw materials and helping to promote change in a gradual and peaceful manner , adding that it is a soft loan and beneficiaries are expected to repay at ease through a simplified payment guide within the recovery period.
Also speaking at the event, the Director General, SME, and MF Agency, Alh. Faruk Umar Audi disclosed that the total number of beneficiaries across the 25 Local Government Areas are 11,587 with 6,643 (60%) of the total number as women while 5,244 are men adding that “this will create more jobs for the people.”