July 13, 2024

Bayelsa Govt. disburses N42m business expansion grant to 210 SMEs

Bayelsa Govt. disburses N42m business expansion grant to 210 SMEs

Nathan Tamarapreye, Yenagoa

The Bayelsa Government on Thursday disbursed a cash grant of N42 million to 210 Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) operators who are indigenes of the state.

Each of the beneficiaries got a cash grant of N200, 000 in the monthly programme introduced by Gov Douye Diri during his second-year anniversary in Feb. 2022.

The disbursement was for the month of September 2022.

Speaking at the presentation, Mrs Faith Opuene, Bayelsa, Commissioner for Women, Children Affairs and Empowerment, said the gesture was borne out of the need to assist entrepreneurs to expand existing businesses and reverse the dominance of the SME sector by non-indigenes.

She said that it was part of the government’s empowerment programme for women and youths across the state.

Opuene said the SMEs were dominated by non-indigenes, hence the need to assist small business owners who hailed from the state to grow and expand their existing businesses.

She explained that the beneficiaries comprised two persons, a man and a woman from each of the 105 political wards from the eight Local Government Areas of Bayelsa.

She added that the gesture was in fulfilment of a pledge by Gov. Douye Diri to support 210 small business operators monthly until the end of his tenure.

“The economy of our state is not in our hands because ours is a civil service state and the SMEs space is dominated by people from outside Bayelsa who drive our economy.

“This empowerment scheme is aimed at encouraging our people to be part of the economy of our state which unfortunately is dominated by our brothers from other states,” Opuene said.

She explained that the empowerment scheme was done by a seven-member committee, put in place to ensure that no beneficiary draws the cash more than once.

Opuene said that the biometrics of the beneficiaries were taken before the disbursement to check multiple payments.

She advised the beneficiaries to deploy the funds into their businesses, adding that there were plans to monitor their performance.

The commissioner said that only those who grew their businesses would benefit from such future plans.

Nr Igbadiwei James, a beneficiary from Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa, who expressed appreciation to the state government, noted that the scheme was all-inclusive as rural dwellers were being carried along.

“This empowerment will go a long way in bringing prosperity, which the present administration is preaching across all nooks and crannies of Bayelsa. I am a civil engineer but I had to resort to selling clothes.

“I will inject this grant into my clothing and textiles tradition at this coming Christmas season and by the grace of God I expect a bumper harvest at the end of the yuletide season,” James said.

Bayelsa government has so far disbursed a total of N 336 million to 1,680 beneficiaries drawn from the 105 wards in the eight council areas in Bayelsa.

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