By Sade Adewale
No fewer than 1,000 Micro, Small and Medium Enterpreneurs (MSMEs) have been educated by the present administration in Ondo State on how to access loans and grants that could assist their businesses overtime.
The State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, disclosed this in a sensitization workshop on Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) development in Akure, the State capital.
Akeredolu who was represented by the Commissioner for Finance, Mr Wale Akinterinwa said that the workshop is part of the state government’s resolve to ensure unfettered and even distribution of resources across the state, thereby positively impacting every sector of the state’s economy.
He added that the programme will provide succour to many ailing private industries and enterprises in the state.
The governor recalled that as part of the efforts, the state government recently facilitated the visit of the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, to the state in respect of MSMEs programme.
In his words:” You will recall that when we came on board, we met a system which placed less premium on MSMEs. The reason for this was not far-fetched. It was because budding entrepreneurs were not properly educated or enlightened on how they can access loans and grants that could assist their businesses overtime.
“This workshop is, therefore, necessary to put in clearer perspective on how to obtain credit facilities that will serve as start -up capital or improve their businesses”,he stressed.
According to him, the state government re-invigorated the Micro-credit Agency for better service delivery to the people by ensuring that they have access to loans, at no or one-digit interest rate.
He posited that the state government also carried out series of empowerment programmes for the people across the state in order to make the economy more functional, ensure wider market participation and improve the standard of living of the people.
Akeredolu noted that the workshop will serve as an eye opener to many credit facilities available in the Bank of Industry, Central Bank of Nigeria, FCMB, Bank of Agriculture and other Federal and State parastatals/agencies, through which the entrepreneurs will now find it easy to access loans with a view to giving a tremendous left to their businesses.
The governor therefore, implored the participants to take advantage of these windows of opportunities while assuring them of his administration’s support for MSMEs in the State.
Speaking earlier, the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Commerce, Industries and Cooperatives, Mrs Tola Oyebade noted that the workshop was to empower the up coming entrepreneurs and to encourage them to be on their own.
In her words: “There are windows of opportunities that are around and not in the knowledge of the people. So, the ministry thought that they should bring it open and invite interested upcoming traders, market women, MSMEs among others to come and participate in the sensitization programme”, she added.
Oyebade further said that the sensitisation workshop is to inform the people about the availability of credit windows in various financial institutions that they can key into so that their businesses would boom.
Also speaking on behalf of the participants, the State Chairman of Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists, Mr Greatseyi Akintunde described the workshop as an eye opening programme of which they have been looking for such opportunity as it would afford the people the opportunity to have more understanding about the financial windows that are available to them.
Akintunde noted that the people need more of the financial windows to be able to excel and to be able to do businesses.
The General Manager of the State Micro Credit Agency, Mr Folayemi who presented a paper on “Development of MSMEs through available Credit Windows Project Assessment, Management and Repayment of Loan” said that the sole responsibility of the Agency is to make credit (soft loan) available to the unemployed, Market women, Artisans of all grades, productive poor, entrepreneurs among others so that they can work their way out of poverty and move up to become Small Scale Industrialists (SMI).
According to him,” the challenges facing all governments of developing countries, Nigeria inclusive, is that of reducing poverty and minimizing the income disparities between haves and have nots.
“Successive governments in Nigeria had demonstrated their commitment towards bridging this gap through various efforts, and intervention programmes. The pervasiveness and enduring nature of poverty in Nigeria has made Micro- Credit delivery a necessity for national and economic development”, he added.
He stated that the present administration has organised a workshop aimed at exploring development of MSMEs through available credit windows and looking into project assessment, management and repayment of loans.