Nathan Tamarapreye, Yenagoa
The Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), has begun sensitization of ex-agitators on procedures to obtain single-digit interest loans from its recently launched cooperative scheme.
Launching the sensitisation in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the Interim Administrator, Maj-Gen. Barry Ndiomu (retd), said it was initiated to guide prospective beneficiaries on how to access different categories of the loan.
Ndiomu, who was represented by his Special Assistant on Special Duties, Mr Thomas Peretu, assured qualified ex-agitators would not be denied access to the credit facility.
He described the process as transparent saying it was being managed by a team of respected individuals.
Ndiomu explained that the Cooperative Scheme was part of the efforts of the PAP to transform ex-agitators from monthly stipend earners to entrepreneurs.
He said: “We have done all we can in putting this together. Right now, we are taking off big time. Let me assure you that all of you (ex-agitators) will be beneficiaries of the loan scheme. It is your project.
“Our intention is to make you entrepreneurs so you can do away with the dependence on the monthly N65,000 stipend that some of you are so used to. It is important to begin to think big so as to make a good impact in your communities, states and the country”.
In his presentation, the Lead consultant for the Presidential Amnesty Programme Beneficiaries Cooperative Scheme Limited (PAPCOSOL), Mr Zigha Ayibakuro, said the exercise was designed to educate ex-agitators on the purpose of the cooperative and the need for them to work together to achieve set objectives.
Ayibakuro said: “There is a place for knowledge if you want to succeed in any business. Some of you have limited access to information which is very key if you want to start a business.
“What we are doing as a Cooperative is to help you with all the necessary information that is important to start your business before providing the seed capital for you.”
He commended Ndiomu for the initiative, stressing that the loan was meant for ex-agitators with viable products or services.
Ayibakuro said the process involved online registration to “fill their Bio data like BVN, National identity, PAP ID code, which will be verified from the backend, skill history proof, business history proof to determine if they are engaged in any trade or productive activities”, among others.
He said a letter of commitment to pay back the loan with 5% interest per annum, three years tenor and one-year moratorium would also be provided by the beneficiaries.
He said that the loan disbursement process would be completed within two weeks after the last date of application and would be done in different phases.
Ayibakuro also told ex-agitators without any business name that they would be assisted to register their businesses while beneficiaries of the loan would also be guided on how to grow their businesses and mitigate risks.
In his remarks, the PAP Chairman, Strategic Communications Committee, Mr Nature Dumale Kieghe described the PAP cooperative society Ltd as a flagship project that would change the perception and narrative of the scheme.
Nature commended Ndiomu for his unique initiatives, which he described as a demonstration of his desire to develop the economic potential of ex-agitators.
He called on the facilitators and lead consultant, Mr Zigha to deploy his experience in helping delegates succeed in this new legacy project of the Interim Administrator.
He recalled that PAP delegates had over the years suffered in the hands of many briefcase contractors, who ended up receiving money from the amnesty office to employ delegates but failed to fulfil their part of the bargain.
Nature, who is also the National Secretary of the first phase ex-agitators advised ex-agitators and delegates to take full advantage of the life-opportunity.
In his remarks, a business development consultant, Mr Emmanuel Benedict, enumerated the various opportunities for small and medium-scale enterprises.