Kogi state government has commenced grants disbursement to micro and small enterprises (MSEs) in the state for the recovery of micro and small scale businesses.
The project, Kogi COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (KG-CARES), Result Area 3, is being implemented by Kogi Enterprise Development Agency (KEDA), which is one of the three result areas of the KG-CARES program aimed at providing relief, facilitating the recovery and enhancing capabilities of businesses affected by COVID-19 pandemic and its resultant disruption to regular commercial activity in the state.
The MSE Grant is one of the intervention programmes of the Governor Yahaya Bello led administration in tackling unemployment as well as rejuvenating the state economy.
The funds are meant to ease financial constraints to MSMEs by providing matching grants for co-financing up to 40% of new loans taken from June 2020 from recognised and approved financial institutions, to support operational expenditure after the onset of Covid-19, and to support adoption of digital payment, integration costs and IT Solutions to firms and support firms to become e-commerce enabled.
In their separate remarks, Mukadam Asiwaju Asiru Idris, Commissioner of Finance, Budget and Economic Planning, disclosed that commercial activities were disrupted in the state, reducing the state revenues and escalating inflation due to the nationwide lockdown.
He congratulated the beneficiary firms and further expressed hope that the grant will put an end to the needless pressures on entrepreneurs in the state.
While Hon. Gabriel Olofu, Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, commended the state governor, Yahaya Bello for his partnership with the World Bank to cushion the adverse effect of COVID-19 on businesses.
He also commended Hajiya Rekiya Onaivo Sanni, MD/CEO of KEDA for the laudable implementation of the project while assuring that more businesses will benefit in subsequent batches.
In a statement issued to newsmen, Hajiya Rekiya Onaivo Sanni, Managing Director/CEO of KEDA appreciated Governor Yahaya Bello for delivering on his mandate of building a strong MSME Eco-system in the state.
Hajiya Rekiya further noted that Gov. Bello’s efforts to create over 500,000 new businesses in the state before the expiration of the present administration in January 2024 is doable.
She urged the beneficiary firms to utilise the funds received appropriately as KEDA will conduct a monitoring and evaluation exercise to ensure compliance.
“Numerous other initiatives are in the offing by the New Direction Government for business community in the state, as many more of these initiatives will be implemented soon”, she added.
In a media chat, one of the beneficiaries, Miss Nana-Aisha Abbas expressed gratitude to the Kogi State Government and KEDA for the grant in which she describes as timely and helpful in revitalizing her clothing business.
“This money has started to go a long way in my clothing business as plans are already being implemented because of the grant that I received”, Aisha said.
Mr Samuel Folorunsho, another beneficiary expressed his excitement about receiving the grant stating that he will be starting the year with the grant and it will help in his poultry business greatly having been affected adversely by the effect of COVID-19 pandemic.
Suliat Abubakar who just graduated from University of Lokoja appreciated the State Government for keeping to its promise and disbursing earlier than expected. “I just graduated from Federal University of Lokoja and this is an additional support to my business. Being a youth that is just coming up and striving to build my trading business, this grant will greatly help in expanding my business”, Suliat said.
Comrade Eniola Olayemi, Deputy Coordinator, National Youth Council of Nigeria, Kogi West, hailed the Kogi Enterprise Development Agency for the “sterling transparency in selecting beneficiaries”, saying the nation will be better if people with genuine needs and business plans are treated the manner Kogi State is currently doing.
“With the mechanism KEDA set up in line with the Governor’s principle of equity and transparency, it was so seamless and everyone is satisfied”, he said.