By Modupe Gbadeyanka
As part of efforts to empower traders and other small business owners in the country, the Federal Government introduced the Social Intervention Fund and many people have been benefitting from this.
Recently, the Bank of Industry (BoI) gave out soft loans to market men and women in Gombe State from the government’s Enterprises and Empowerment Programme.
During the disbursement of the funds, over one thousand traders in the state benefitted from it.
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Hassana Arkila, who is the president of Market Women Association in Gombe State, expressed her gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for the initiative.
According to her, the programme would indeed reduce poverty in the country, particularly amongst women that constitute of the larger percentage of the Nigerian population.
“Bank of Industry through Baba Buhari, the President, they have come to collect our BVN numbers, in fact, they would have even paid this money, cash, but because it’s policy, they do not want to give this money cash.
“They want to pay us through our own banks and through the BVN numbers, for easy accessibility to every beneficiary. If peradventure there is any default in the payment of this soft loan,” Mrs Arkila enthused.
However, she urged the beneficiaries to ensure that they repay the loans within the stipulated time, so that others would also benefit.
Another beneficiary, Mr Ayodele Adada, a technician, said “this is the beginning of a journey to progress, because due to the condition in Nigeria, as at today, since they introduce this programme, issue of assisting women, including men, it’s going to reduce this issue of poverty and lack of work and all these things.
“If all know how to manage the money very well, well it will reduce poverty.”
Speaking at the ceremony, representative of BoI in Gombe State, Mr Adamu Hassan, disclosed that N140 billion had been provided for the programme aimed at stimulating economic activities.
Mr Hassan noted that the loan is being disbursed to at least 1.6 million SMEs across all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
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