From Wilson Okereke, Afikpo
The Bank of Industry (BoI) has disclosed plan to provide members of Rice Mill Owners Industrial Association, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, with soft loans during a recent interface with the millers.
Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Dr Stephen Odo, said the ministry was determined to provide the millers with all the necessary supports: “What they need to grow in this industry is not just cash, but also capacity to manage their little businesses, to keep good record of their businesses and to achieve this, some NGOs are ready to offer the assistance freely.
“The rest assistances will be freely given except the loans which each interested person will get in accordance with the size of his facility and in agreement with the bank.
“The people may be seeing the process as rigorous due to the fact that they have not been exposed in the system. The ministry will provide the people with all the needed assistance including funding of the writing of business plans, they will equally be sensitized with all the measures in order to keep all the obstacles at bay.”
Chairman of the rice millers, Obeji Nkwuda, urged that the promises be fulfilled: “We had been defrauded by members of some agencies in the time past whom after providing us with series of trainings on how to access loans disappeared into the thin air.
“During the so-called trainings, we paid heavily and spent our time, still at the end, nothing positive was found. This is why we decided earlier that we would not heed to similar programmes any longer.
“We swore not to partner with any financial institution or agencies that are not government-owned. But since this particular one is being anchored by the state government, we will not hesitate to embrace the opportunity.”