Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin Kebbi
The Federal Government through the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) has disbursed a soft loan of N15 million to 1,500 unemployed women and youths in Argungu town, Kebbi State to start their small businesses.
Daily Sun learnt that each of the beneficiaries received N10,000 each as microloans disbursement and are expected to repay the loans in two months.
The Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo, speaking at the ceremony held at the palace of the Emir of Argungu, explained that the gestation for the loans is after two months and the money would be recycled again for the new beneficiaries in Argungu town.
The Minister, who was represented by the Director-General of NDE, Dr Nasir Ladan Argungu, said apart from the loans, 52 new brand machines, welding machines, cosmetic and sewing machines are available at the vocational centre in Argungu with a 36 seater bus that would be conveying trainees to the centre.
The NDE DG also announced the donation of 10,000 exercise books and learning materials to schools in Argungu communities.
Remarking, the Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Samaila Muhammed Mera, who commended the Federal Government for the gesture, appealed to the beneficiaries to utilize the money, especially during the coming Argungu Fishing Festival to make double profits.
Kebbi State Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, also at the event, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the introduction of the soft loans which was designed to remove over 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.
The Governor said the foresight and imagination of the Director-General of NDE, Dr Nasir Ladan Argungu, was responsible for bringing the loan package to the women and youths of the state.
“It is an extension of the support package that President Muhammadu Buhari has authorised NDE to be given across the nation,” he said.
Bagudu noted that over the years, Kebbi has keyed into various initiatives of the President aimed at addressing poverty in the country, saying that the state has benefitted immensely, especially in the agricultural sector and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
He said the initiative has also afforded the influx of investors as well as the establishment of companies in Kebbi State while commending Buhari for making key appointments from indigenes of Kebbi State.
The Governor congratulated the Director-General of NDE, Dr Nasir Ladan Argungu, for the success of the programme, while also commending his good leadership in facilitating the disbursement of the soft loan to women and youths in the state.
The Special Guest of honour, Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), described the gesture as part of a Federal Government effort to better the lives of people especially women and youths.
He said the disbursement of the soft loan would have a multiplier effect on the beneficiaries.