Posted by News Express | 16 June 2015 | 5,034 times
Anambra State Governor Chief Willie Obiano has said that small business owners in the state now have cause to cheer.
The governor gave the assurance in Awka yesterday following the inauguration of the Anambra Small Business Agency (ASBA) and the commencement of the disbursement of the N2bn Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development (MSMEs) Development Fund. The fund is the Anambra State quota of the N220bn MSMEs fund domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Governor Obiano observed that lack of funding has been the bane of small businesses but will change with the availability of the MEMEs Development Fund which can be accessed by serious private enterprise operators.
“I am happy that the scheme has taken off in ernest because we worked hard to ensure that we meet the relevant statutory requirement and set up ASBA to superintend over small business activities. Micro Small and Medium Enterprises constitute the major drivers of my administration’s vision to engender aggressive economic growth and touch the lives of the average citizen of the state positively. I have no doubt that their fortunes will turn around for good and that the local economy will feel the positive impact in no distant time,” he said.
The governor described the exercise as a consummation of his efforts since the inception of his government, to devise a means of directly engaging the MSMEs subsector in the task of growing the state GDP and creating employment and wealth opportunities for the people.
He charged the staff and management of ASBA to ensure effective implementation such that all bottlenecks militating against easy access to such intervention by SMMEs and to establish the state as the hub of SME empowerment in the country, as well as proper monitoring of beneficiaries and recovery of the funds.
The Fund is divided into two with N1bn is being disbursed to Micro enterprises and the other to small and medium scale enterprises at an interest rate of nine percent. In line with the CBN guidelines, direct beneficiaries anchored by the Commercial Banks selected under the small and Medium Enterprises sector are to access up to a maximum of 50 million naira while those processed by Microfinance Banks under the Micro enterprises will not be able to access any amount exceeding 5 million naira.
Earlier, Chairman of the Board of ASBA, Mr. Greg Obi, attributed lack of access to funds to stringent loan conditions which are stumbling blocks to SMEs' development in the country. He praised the interest of the governor in helping CASBA meet the conditions to attract the State's share of the 220 billion naira Development Fund, as a demonstration of genuine commitment towards assisting the subsector to thrive in the State.
Also speaking, the Managing Director of the agency, Mr. Clem Chukwuka said they engaged the participating financial institutions earlier in the year in line with their mandate to ensure that beneficiaries of the fund are small businesses with proven integrity and capability of generating employment and wealth.
In a goodwill message, the Head, Development Finance Department of the Awka Branch of CBN, Mrs. Georgina Nwankwo noted that the state is among the first to meet the requirements for securing the fund due to the doggedness of the State Government. She said the CBN is working out modalities with the ASBA to secure other intervention packages with a view to boosting the activities of SMEs in the state.
In a vote of thanks, a representative of the direct beneficiaries, Mr. Akai Egwuonwu, said that the funds is timely as it will complement their efforts in supporting the governor's vision in the Agricultural sector and promised to utilise the fund properly.
•Photo shows Governor Obiano.
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