No fewer than 900 traders have benefitted from the Enugu State Government on-going empowerment grant to market traders, to boost their trade in the state in the last one year.
Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mr. Sam Ogbu-Nwobodo, disclosed this in an interview, in Enugu.
Ogbu-Nwobodo said the state government had also spent N45 million for the programme withing the period under review.
He promised that the programme would go around 37 markets in the state; both urban and rural based.
The commissioner said that the grant was open to all traders in the state, irrespective of their state of origin, religion or political affiliation.
He said that so far, genuine traders with identifiable shops and registered with their various market associations had benefited from the empowerment grant.
“We usually give out the grant through a raffle draw, done openly in each market square or park in the state to ensure transparency.
“We plan to give N50, 000 each to 100 traders in each of the 37 markets both at urban and rural levels.
“So for each market, the raffle draw is done, the government gives out a total of N5 million to 100 traders.
“For now, 900 genuine traders with identifiable shops within nine markets have benefited from the grant programme so far.
“The grant programme will continue as a means to uplift trade and commerce as well as ensure the economic viability of traders in the state,’’ he said.
Ogbu-Nwobodo said the aim of the government was to ensure that markets remained catalysts for business and commercial growth in the state and the South-East region.
According to him, the N50, 000 can make difference to micro and small businesses, especially in the rural areas.
He said Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi had also commenced addressing infrastructure and environmental challenges in various markets with a view to strengthening their capacity and boosting commerce in the state.
Over 60 per cent of residents of the state are predominantly traders. (NAN)