More than one thousand market Women and Men in Gombe State have benefited from a soft loan from the Government Enterprises and Empowerment Programme, which is being executed through the Office of the Vice President under the Social Intervention Unit and through the Bank of Industry.
The Representative of the Bank of Industry in Gombe State, Mr. Adamu Hassan, said during the disbursement of the fund in Gombe, that the bank approved the disbursement directly to the beneficiaries’ bank account, thereby monitoring and coordinating the activities of the agents and aggregators.
Mr. Hassan said the sum of 140 billion Naira had been provided for the programme as Social Intervention Fund, which is aimed at stimulating economic activities.
According to the Representative of the Bank of Industry in Gombe State, Mr. Adamu Hassan, the loan is being disbursed to at least 1.6 million micro, small and medium enterprises across all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
In Gombe State, over one thousand are benefiting from the scheme; one of them is the President of the Market Women Association, Gombe State Branch, Mrs. Hassana Arkila, who expressed her gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for the initiative.
Mrs. Arkila said 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,” said Mrs. Arkila .
The value of the loan ranges from 10 thousand Naira to One hundred thousand Naira.
Some of the beneficiaries of the loans have this to say.
“I am Mr. Ayodele Adada, I am a Technician. 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,”. ….. “I am Mrs. Dinah Joseph Kolchi, I am one of the market women here in Gombe. We are very, very happy with this loan. Even though we have not collected the loan, but we have seen all the evidence that the loan is ready and is matured for the market women. We really appreciate our leaders, starting from the national level, to the state and our Excos here.”
The President of the Gombe State Chapter of the Market Women Association, Mrs. Hassana Arkila, however, called on the beneficiaries to ensure that they repay the loans within the stipulated time, so that others would also benefit.
The Federal Government established the National Women Empowerment Fund and the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, targeting 1.6 million operators of micro enterprises such as market women, traders, artisans.
It is one of the Federal Government’s social empowerment schemes, which the Bank of Industry has been given the responsibility to manage and disburse loans to the groups of people.
The loan, which is delivered directly to beneficiaries in their market associations, has six months duration, and involves daily collection by agents, weekly pay and duration of loan after two-week moratorium.