Sunday Nwakanma – Umuahia
The Federal government in partnership with Abia State Government and Bank of Industry, BoI Friday, disbursed a total of N380 million to 7000 beneficiaries in Abia State through the Government Enterprises & Empowerment Programme, GEEP.
However, some beneficiaries were disappointed when they did not receive their own bank alert as others did.
The programme was built to assist the rural women and youth to start small trade or any other business. While some beneficiaries smiled home with fifty thousand naira, others went home with their faces looking like people that failed football competition because they did not receive any bank alert.
Government enterprise empowerment programme is the brain child of the federal government to partner the state governments and bank of industry to assist the rural people with loan payable within six months.
Speaking at International Conference Centre, Umuahia, venue of the exercise, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo commended the Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu over his efforts and commitment in Micro Small & Medium Scale Enterprise, MSMSE.
The Vice President, who spoke through his Special Adviser on MSMSE, Mr Tola Johnson Ade said the earlier launch of One-Stop-Shop and Abia Investment House deepened the relationship between the Federal government and Abia State government, disclosing that Abia is the only State where 90% of the applicants were qualified for the loan.
He assured the beneficiaries that the more they deploy the money meaningfully, the more they would get more loans, adding that the loans are gradually being released.
The Vice President expressed his happiness that 90 percent of Abians qualified for the loan and urged them to make judicious use of the money, pledging that the relationship that attracted the programme would be sustained.
He said that at least 3,000 Abians will benefit from this first batch.
In his speech, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu who believed that Abians can create nothing from something, commended president Muhammadu Buhari and his vice Osibanjo for collaborating with the 36 states to give the loan.
Governor Ikpeazu warned the beneficiaries that the loan is not for solving family problems, payment of school fees or giving it to third party, but prayed God to give them the wisdom to use the money well.
While reiterating that bank of industry is ready to give additional loan of 30 thousand soon, the Governor pledged that the state will send those that will train the beneficiaries on skills they wish to learn and charged the beneficiaries to deploy the money accordingly, adding that the loan is strictly for business and urged them to approach it prayerfully and ensure the money is not to be misused.
His administration, he said was prepared to continue to assist Abia people and residents to succeed in Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, expressing hope that in few months time, he would be happy to see that their businesses have grown.
Earlier, the Chief Operating Officer, Bank of Industry, Mr. Uzoma Nwagba informed that before the end of the year, thirty thousand Abia people will have benefited from the loan, advised them not to misuse the opportunity offered to them by the Federal government.
Mr Nwagba advised people to form themselves into cooperative societies so as to be qualified for the loan and urged those who are yet to receive bank alerts to exercise patients as they would get their own soon.
Some who received the bank alert before the event including Chigbo Osinachi Jude enjoined federal government to increase the money from 50 to 100 thousand naira, while those whose faces were muddy including Uche Okafor told
news men that they are still expecting their alert.