Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi has charged about 1, 500 beneficiaries of credit facilities to invest the money wisely to enhance their businesses which would enable them pay back as and when due.
Speaking at the flag off ceremony of another round of Micro Enterprise Enhancement Scheme (MEES), in Ado- Ekiti on Wednesday, Dr. Fayemi explained that the programme which was done in collaboration with National Directorate of Employment (NDE) was designed to provide financial support for petty traders and other small business owners on tbr bid to improve the economy of the State.
Commending the administration of President Buhari for the various intervention programmes targeted at poverty alleviation in the country, the Governor said the initiative was a practical demonstration of the federal government’s effort at encouraging women and youths who are into micro businesses.
The Governor, represented by his Chief of Staff, Hon Biodun Omoleye, assured that the State Government in its quest to make life comfortable for the people would not relent in creating enabling environment and support for genuine small and medium scale enterprise in the State.
He disclosed that his administration through relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) had designed various intervention programmes to carter for the needs of most vulnerable, petty traders and artisans who often suffer neglect from conventional financial institutions.
Dr Fayemi told the beneficiaries to reciprocate the gesture by being committed to repaying the loans to guarantee sustainability and to enable others who were on the waiting list benefit from the scheme.
He said; “On behalf of Ekiti people and Government of Ekiti State, I express my heartfelt appreciation to the Federal Government, under our amiable President Muhammadu Buhari for all the interventions targeted at lessening poverty in our society.
“In our quest to provide means of livelihood for our people, we prioritize the creation of the needed enabling environment and provision of intervention supports for genuine MSMEs development. It is in view of this recognition of the high importance of capital for businesses that, the State Government through relevant MDAs designed various intervention schemes to cater for the most vulnerable and often neglected small traders and artisans who are in most cases shut out of the conventional financial system.
“I urged the beneficiaries to make good use of this opportunity and faithfully reciprocate the good gesture by being committed to paying back these interest-free-loans as and when due.
"This will go along way to encourage Government to do more and provide the avenue to enlarge the scheme to include others on the waiting list. Let me also remind beneficiary that the loan is strictly for business enhancement and not for frivolities.”
Earlier the Ekiti State Coordinator of NDE, Mr Babatunde Alao disclosed that beneficiaries were drawn from the 16 local governments of the State to ensure that people at the grassroots benefitted from the dividends of democracy.
Giving the analysis of the 1500 women and youths that were being empowered with credit facilities, Mr Aloa said 521 women would benefit from Micro Enterprise Enhancement Scheme; 319 graduates of Technical Scheme would be given micro loans; 377 graduates of food processing and packaging would receive start-up loan to start their businesses; 140 women would be empowered for income generating activities and 143 young entrepreneurs would benefit under NDE Job creation and Youth empowerment programme.
He charged beneficiaries to display financial discipline, good customer relations and business connection to be able to meet up with deadline for the repayment of their loans.
Also the Director General, Bureau of Labour, Productivity and Employment, Mr Lanre Ogunsuyi said some of the loans were targeted at people who specialized in ageing businesses like mat making and pottery so as to revitalize their business.
One of the beneficiaries, Madam Felicia Fadahunsi from Ogotun who commended the State Government said the loan would go a long way to assist her business which seems to have suffered neglect for sometimes due to lack of finances.
Others at the programme are the Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Aare Olumilua Muyiwa,
Special Advisers on Gender Empowerment and Social Mobilisation, Mrs Moji Fafure, Special Adviser on Political Matter, Mr Olusoga Davies and other top government functionaries.