Osun State Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, on Wednesday commenced the disbursement of Six Hundred and Thirty-Six Million, One Hundred and Ninety-Five Thousand Naira (N636.195,000.00) as soft loans to the citizens and residents of the State.
The initiative, which was actualised through collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria-supported Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, was aimed at expanding the scope of businesses, trades, investments stimulating the economy and reducing the scourge of unemployment in the State.
This is even as the over 2, 000 beneficiaries of the loan facility showered encomiums on the State Government for the kind gesture.
The soft loans were disbursed through Osun Micro Credit Agency as part of efforts to ensure proper coordination.
Speaking at the flag-off ceremony held at Nelson Mandela Freedom Park, Osogbo, Governor Oyetola said the gesture was in furtherance of the Administration’s resolve to build a virile and healthy economy.
He said the initiative stemmed from the Administration’s Development Agenda that is focused on revitalising the economy for improved performance, noting that by their enormous productivity and capacity for value and job-creation, MSMEs constitute a critical part of government’s diversification agenda.
Oyetola reiterated his Administration’s commitment to scaling up the ease-of-doing business in the State. He said the initiative would go a long way to resuscitate moribund businesses and investments in the State.
Governor Oyetola disclosed that over Six Billion and Five Hundred Million Naira (N6.5 billion) of the Central Bank of Nigeria and Osun intervention funds has been disbursed to 31,888 beneficiaries in different categories.
He said the State had invested hugely in the economy as evidenced in the successes recorded so far.
“To actualise seamless cash flow among citizens, we have intervened in the issue surrounding business support funds from the Central Bank of Nigeria and facilitated timely release of the sum of Six Hundred and Thirty-Six Million, One Hundred and Ninety-Five Thousand (N636.195,000.00) to the State through Osun Micro Credit Agency in collaboration with Participating Financial Institutions in the State for disbursement to selected beneficiaries as approved by the CBN.
“Other citizens who fall within the classification of Small and Medium Enterprise Businesses who are interested in the fund should approach Osun Micro Credit Agency for possible enrolment in the next tranche of MSMEDF.
“This exercise is another effort by our Administration to strengthen our economy through the provision of supports for our Small and Medium Scale Enterprises.
“I wish to note that with this disbursement flag- off, the total number of beneficiaries of the CBN and Osun Government intervention funds is 31, 888 and the total amount disbursed from the fund for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development in the State so far stands at Six Billion and Five Hundred Million Naira (N6.5 billion).
“I would like to express my appreciation to our partners, the Central Bank of Nigeria, for their sustained partnership that has made it possible to empower our business owners.
“This exercise stems from our Administration’s Development Agenda that is focused on revitalising our economy for much improved performance. The MSMEs, owing to their enormous productivity and capacity for value and job-creation, constitute a critical part of our diversification agenda.
“Since assumption of office, we have, in addition to our strategic investment in transforming the Agriculture, Tourism and Mining Sectors, focused attention on improving the performances of our MSMEs. This is because we believe that a virile MSMEs space holds limitless opportunities for our State.
“We are convinced that when there is greater accessibility to funding, requisite infrastructure, an enabling environment devoid of common limitations and a political will to drive the requisite policies, our MSMEs would be empowered to spread their wings and fly. All these we have passionately put to work since we assumed office,” he added.
In his remarks, the Commissioner for Commerce, Industry, Cooperative and Empowerment, Dr. Bode Olaonipekun, lauded Governor Oyetola for being supportive of the growth and development of businesses in the State.
“What we are witnessing today is a journey of over two years coming to fruition. Governor Oyetola has made it come to pass and our hope is that this gesture would expand the scope of business in the state as over two thousand beneficiaries will be empowered and this will boost Osun economy,” he added.
Also speaking, the acting General Manager, Osun Micro Credit Agency, Mr. Sanya Olopade appreciated the timely and prompt intervention of the government which has been helping the agency to soar higher.
He urged the beneficiaries to use the money judiciously and apply it for the purpose it was meant for, just as he appealed to them to refund the loan within the record time so as to give others same opportunity.
In their separate remarks, some of the beneficiaries praised the government for meeting them at the points of needs.
Mrs. Oduyemi Mary, Alhaji Azeez Rasak, Alhaji Afolabi Yusuf Adekunle, Mrs. Oladoye Olayemi Kehinde, Engr. Salami Rasheed and Mrs. Motunrayo Abiola extolled the initiative and promised to use the funds judiciously.