The Ondo State Government has disbursed N166 million soft loans to help boost Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs) in the State. The beneficiaries who were traders, market women, associations, groups and cooperatives societies, have obtained the loan through the state micro-credit agency.
The State Governor, Mr Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, while speaking at the disbursement centre in Idi-Agba Titun, Akure, said that the scheme was aimed at assisting SMEs by making funding easily accessible to them and to make them self-reliant.
According to him, one of the challenges facing governments of most developing countries, including Nigeria, was poverty. This is why his administration is putting efforts into organising various poverty reduction programmes, including the provision of microcredit loans for the benefit of our people.
While speaking to the beneficiaries, Akeredolu encouraged them to put the resources into good use and have it in mind that it was a facility to be paid back.
Why this matters: Lack of adequate funding has been the major challenge Nigerian SMEs have raised concerns about. The SMEs stakeholders have overtime lamented the absence of adequate credit facility for startups and business expansions.
SMEs contribute to the economy by creating value through the production of goods and services, thus enhancing the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). They also generate employment by creating much-needed jobs in the economy as well as expanding the export sector largely through linkages with large firms that produce for the foreign sector.
Groups that benefitted from the loan scheme include Association of Poultry Farmers, Nigeria Union of Tailors, Fish Farmers Association, Ondo State Hairdressers and Cosmetologists Association, among others.
Also present at the centre was the Chairman of the State Micro-Credit Agency, Mrs Kosemani Kolawole, who emphasized the need for unemployed youths to come and benefit from the scheme alongside the traders and artisans.
“We have identified some unemployed youths who have been considered. We want more youths to come out and benefit from this scheme. Some who have benefitted have started something with the loans and they are doing well in their businesses.”