Gov Fubara Empowers 3,066 MSMEs With N4bn Soft Loan In Rivers

Rivers State governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara (centre), flanked by his deputy, Professor Ngozi Odu (right) and Executive Director, Corporate Services and Commercial, Bank of Industry (BoI), Mr. Usen Effing (Left), during the launch of the Rivers State Government/BoI soft loan scheme in Port Harcourt, on Friday.

Rivers State governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has formally launched the N4billion matching fund loan scheme that will stimulate business activities in the state while also creating wealth.

The launching, which took place at the Dr Obi Wali International Conference Centre, Port Harcourt, on Friday, signalled the commencement of the disbursement of Rivers State Government/Bank of Industry (BoI) Limited N4billion marching fund loan scheme for nano, small and medium-scale businesses in the State.

Speaking at the event, Fubara stated that the lack of access to credit had continued to aggravate financial exclusion and choked the prospects for individuals to realise their economic aspirations for a better life.

But with the scheme, which is a partnership between Rivers State Government and BoI, now launched, the governor emphasised that a surest path has been secured to achieve entrepreneurial success while serving as an enabler of economic prosperity in the state.

He said: “Today, we are all here to witness the formal launch and distribution of cheques to 3,066 micro, small, and medium-scale enterprises and 100 companies in the State from all 23 local government areas, including businesses owned by non-indigenes valued at over N3.6billion only.

“We are satisfied with today’s outing and professionalism, believing even more strongly that the potential outcome will be greater to both BOI and the Government and good people of Rivers State.”

Fubara explained that as a campaign blueprint, he promised during his electioneering campaigns, to support entrepreneurial development and the growth of businesses through access to credit in the form of soft loans.

The governor said upon assumption of office, he noticed more closely how most businesses, especially those of small-scale, struggled and either died or gasped in accessing credit that were only offered by banks at neck-breaking interest rate without success.

He said: “As a State, we cannot talk about economic growth without stimulating business activities to create wealth and jobs through policies and programmes that will engender greater public access to credit and financial inclusion.

“MSMEs are well-known as critical drivers of inclusive economic growth and development. By empowering our people to cultivate available economic opportunities, access to credit is a powerful tool for achieving financial security.

“We can only keep imaging the economic value that the over 3,000 MSMEs would add to the positive economic dynamics of Rivers State and the local government areas in terms of gross domestic product, increased tax returns, employment creation, income distribution and production of good and services.”

Fubara made it clear that even if the loan appeared very liberal, it was not given as charity, and insisted that beneficiaries must pay back so that others can access it to fund their businesses.

The governor, therefore, instructed the management of the Rivers State Microfinance Agency (RIMA) to monitor the progress of the beneficiaries in their businesses and ensure a 100 per cent recovery of the loans to guarantee the sustainability of the programme.

He noted the gains of the symbiotic economic partnership between the State Government and BoI, and the transformed commitment to further strengthen and cultivate it for the benefit of the people of Rivers State.

In his address, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Bank of Industry (BoI) Limited, Dr Olasupo Olusi, represented by the Executive Director of Corporate Services and Commerical, Mr Usen Effiong, said they were particularly interested in ensuring that the collaboration is realised in steering socio-economic growth, creating jobs, checkmating social vices and growing the internally generated revenue of Rivers State.

He said: “BOI remains committed and a strong pillar of development financing in Nigeria for over 60 years. Our remarkable record and total assets exceed N4trillion, which makes BOI the largest and most successful development finance institution in the nation.

“It will interest us to know that our total investment in Rivers State as at today stands at N55.65billion, which accounts for 55 percent of the total investment in the entire South-South. So, Rivers State alone is taking the chunk of our investment.

“We, as the Bank of Industry Limited, play a major role in supporting Nigerian enterprises by providing financial services, advisory services, and watch businesses grow from Nano to Micro to Small, Medium and getting to large enterprises.

“Our mandate is to create development impact which is in line with the economic blueprint of His Excellency, the Governor of Rivers State, and this cuts across various sectors ranging from agriculture, oil and gas, power and aviation, hospitality. This, we believe will crystalize industrialization and economic sustainability in Rivers State.”

Delivering his welcome address, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Rivers State Microfinance Agency (RIMA), Pastor Jonathan Tobin, said it was exciting that they were given the opportunity to contribute to achieving the dream project of Governor Fubara christened, “Touching Lives, Creating Wealth.”

Tobin stated that the timing of the launching of the scheme was auspicious because it was coming when the operating capital of most businesses have been eroded.

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