From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Bayelsa Government has restated its commitment to its policy of encouraging growth and expansion of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) across the state.
Mr Ayiba Duba, Commissioner for Information, Orientation and Strategy gave the assurance while speaking at the monthly disbursement of cash grant of N 42 million to 210 SMEs from the state.
Duba, who said the disbursement, is devoid of politics said that the state was looking forward to the growth of the state’s economy which hitherto revolved around civil service through entrepreneurship promotion.
According to him the gesture is in line with pledge made by the Diri led administration to engender prosperity through empowerment of two persons in the 105 wards every month for the past 10 months.
Each of the beneficiaries comprising one woman and one youth each from the 105 wards in Bayelsa got a cash grant of N200, 000 to grow their business.
Also speaking at the presentation ceremony, Mrs Faith Opuene, Bayelsa, Commissioner for Women, Children Affairs and Empowerment urged the beneficiaries to resist the urge to spend the grant on festivities during the yuletide.
Mrs Opuene while noting that the government is not playing politics with the disbursement of the funds said it was meant to strengthen the capital base of their businesses for growth and expansion.
She explained that the empowerment scheme was done by a seven-member committee, which had been put in place to ensure that no beneficiary draws the cash more than once.
She disclosed that there were plans to monitor the performance of beneficiaries and further support their businesses in various phases of development, adding that only those who grew their businesses would benefit from such future plans.
Mrs Susan Saighe-Igbe, one of the beneficiaries, who deals in clothes, applauded the state government for supporting small businesses that were in dire need of additional capital following the recent flood that crippled most businesses in the state.
She noted that the additional capital into her business which started in 2013 will quicken the growth of her operations in the festive season.
“This grant is very timely , it is a lifeline to many small businesses crumbled by the flood, for me it will enable me to boost my stock and cope with seasonal demands during the festive season,” Saigh-Igbe said.
It was learnt that a total of 2,100 beneficiaries spread across the 105 wards from eight local government areas have so far benefited from the scheme which commenced in February, 2022.