BY DEMOLA AKINYEMI
Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State has earmarked about N500 million to flag off programmes aimed at boosting Small and Medium Scale Enterprises [SMEs] in the state.
Unveiling the programme in Ilorin recently, Governor Ahmed said the SMEs is designed to strengthen the capacity of cooperative societies to continually boost economic activity of the state, noting that the intervention scheme was part of his administration’s effort to create Shared Prosperity through the economic empowerment of small business owners and artisans in the state.
He said this underlines his determination to strengthen the capacity of the private sector to drive economic development of Kwara state.
Governor Ahmed said it is borne out of roles SMEs play as major contributors to the development of the world’s most advanced economies, stressing that they stimulate economic activities, create jobs and contribute to the growth of these countries.
“We are therefore determined to accelerate the capacity of SMEs to become major players in the economy of Kwara State. Towards this end, we are building the capacity of Cooperative Societies to serve as the platform for the development of the SME sector‘.he added.
He revealed that his administration was taking off with the first tranche of N250 million of a N500 million fund designed to boost entrepreneurship and enhance the economic well-being of people of the state, adding that another N750 million would be made available to small holding farmers in the state in order to promote food security and wealth creation.
Alhaji Ahmed who described the scheme as a unique opportunity for SMEs and cooperatives to grow their businesses, advised the beneficiaries of the scheme, who he said were selected after rigorous analyses of application and due process, to use the fund for productive ventures capable of creating shared prosperity through job and wealth creation.
While hinting that 10 Micro Finance Banks have been identified for the administration of the loan scheme for easy and effective management as well as the quick recovery of loans, he urged the residents to join or form Cooperative Societies to qualify them to benefit from this loan scheme.
He noted that it was a unique opportunity for qualified small businesses and their promoters to economically empower themselves and others.
He said, “You should utilize the loan for business activities that can create prosperity through youth job creation and entrepreneurship as well as improvement in the welfare of the people of Kwara State. Similarly, you should adhere strictly to the agreed repayment schedule for the benefit of other applicants and the sustenance of the scheme”.
The State Commissioner for Commerce and Cooperatives, Alhaji Saka Onimago in his address said the loans would be disbursed to the cooperative societies through ten selected Micro Finance Banks in order to ensure transparency and accountability.
Alhaji Onimago expressed the hope that revolving loan scheme will reposition small scale enterprises for the economic transformation of Kwara State.