‘2445 people accessed N125m micro-credit GEEP facility in Akwa Ibom’
No less than 2445 people in Akwa Ibom, have accessed N125 million under the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) initiated by the Federal Government to improve Micro Small and Medium Enterprises’ (MSMEs) access to finance.
According to the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, about 2,445 Akwa Ibom people have benefitted from the programme across 62 associations in the state.
Osinbajo who disclosed this at the Nationwide MSME Clinics for viable enterprises, Akwa Ibom Edition in Uyo at the weekend, said the programme, which was organised by the office of the Vice President in partnership with the federal ministry of industry, trade and investment and Akwa Ibom, has witnessed a disbursement of about N125 million loan to micro businesses in the state.
He said that the loan which is an intervention programme of the Bank of Industry (BoI) under the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) provides non interest credit facility to qualified Nigerians.
Osinbajo, represented by the Technical Adviser to Vice President on MSME, Tola Johnson said Akwa Ibom is the 11th state that has benefited from the FG’s MSME clinic.
He said the essence of the programme was to bring together regulators in the MSME space to solve challenges related to the sector in any state.The vice president also said that federal government would identify 100 good businesses and give them N500, 000 each to facilitate their businesses.
In his remarks, Gov. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom said the forum would discuss how much business enterprises can be harnessed to drive the economic development.
He described micro businesses as the economic framework for building equitable corporate wealth considering the role of small business entrepreneurs in the economy.
Emmanuel said the workshop was designed to create synergies through networking, awareness promotion, marketing and export windows for participants.Emmanuel said that more than 30,000 Akwa Ibom people had benefited from state government’s skills acquisition programme.
He further said the state government had committed huge resources to resolving soft loan facilities and outright business empowerment grants to various organised groups in the state.
Also speaking, Group Head, Micro Enterprises, BoI, Mrs Uloma Ike, said the GEEP has provided non interest loans of up to N100,000.According to her, N50,000 each was targeted for first timers to qualify Nigerians in four target segments.
With a mandate to reach all the 31 local governments of Akwa Ibom State, Ike explained that the programme was part of efforts to grow small businesses to aid an improved standards of living, job creation and economic growth.
Ike said the intervention was in response to complaints by small business operators that over 80 percent of micro enterprises lack access to affordable credit, adding that “when the loans are available, they come at very high costs to the borrower”.
She said that the beneficiaries of the MSME were market women, traders, artisans, youths and farmers.Ike said that GEEP being executed by the Bank of Industry has a mandate to reach 1.6 million beneficiaries in all 774 local government areas of Nigeria.
“Most importantly, we want to see micro businesses 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.