Orji Uzor Kalu Foundation (OUKF) has brought relief to the people of Umunneochi Local Government Area of Abia State, following the disbursement of zero interest loan to petty traders.
The foundation, on Monday presented N20, 000 cash to each of the 575 beneficiaries of the gesture, drawn from Umuchieze, Isuochi and Nnaeto.
Speaking with newsmen during the launch of the programme at Lokpanta, Executive Secretary of OUKF, Mrs. Jemimah Kalu, said the free interest loan will boost business activities and ultimately improve the well being of beneficiaries.
“The gesture is a way to engage and empower the vulnerable in the society, especially the youth in productive activities.
“Before the end of the week, we shall extend the loan scheme to Isiukwato, Arochukwu and Ohafia local government areas.
“It is important to note that this laudable project was initiated by our founder and chairman, who is also a former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Kalu, in 1996, and ever since, the scheme has been sustained.
“The beneficiaries of the free interest loan have their existing businesses and have demonstrated a high level of determination to make shrewd use of the funds in advancing their businesses.
“Very soon, we shall extend the empowerment scheme to other parts of the country as over N2 billion has been earmarked for the project.”
While encouraging beneficiaries of the scheme to be more committed to their businesses, Kalu declared that in no distant time, other empowerment programmes of the foundation will be rolled out, which will be targeted at the aged and physically challenged.
Applauding the initiative, a community leader in Lekwesi ward, Ebere Chuks, commended OUKF for its laudable activities in Abia State and beyond, noting that if other well meaning Nigerians emulate Dr. Orji Kalu, the country will be a better place to live.
In her remarks, a beneficiary of the scheme from Lokpanta, Alice Okereke, described the gesture as “life changing,” adding that with the loan, her business will definitely grow beyond her expectation.
The petty trader said: “We know Orji Kalu for his good works and passion for the people. He is a giver, I must confess.”