By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
ABUJA-Wife of the Minister of Transportation and founder Empowerment Support Initiative(ESI), Dame Judith Amaechi, has revealed that 1000 beneficiaries of the Initiative, are set to receive soft loans from the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) to support their businesses.
Dame Amaechi, who made this revelation to Journalists recently in Abuja on the 10th anniversary of the Initiative, noted that ESI at 10, has made meaningful achievements, one of which is the breakthrough with the CBN.
“Since 2015, on coming to Abuja, ESI has made meaningful achievement, one of which is the breakthrough with CBN. We are at the starting point and the CBN asked that we bring 1000 beneficiaries of all our training schemes and they are being trained” she explained.
Dame Amaechi who noted that there is a high demand on the young people for a way forward in life, said that those trained will need to access funds to run their programmes, adding that the partnership with CBN will enable them to do that, as the support adds succour to the beneficiaries.
She pointed out that, “The 1000 people will be picked from all our entrepreneurship schemes, across every spheres of their skills. They will be given soft loans to enable them start up their business. Hopefully before the end of this month, we will supply them(CBN), the 1000 names. This is one thing we have been looking for and if we get this, then the major milestone would have been achieved”.
Speaking on how the ESI intends to track the loan to avoid high number of defaulters in the payment process, the ESI boss stated, that the Initiative has track record of trailing those it works with and expressed belief that the participants will live up to expectations with the CBN loan.
She stated that the Initiative can not vouch for everybody, but it is however specific on the people it trains, adding that the selection process has to show that the beneficiaries cannot afford the privilege.
Furthermore, she explained that the ESI projects which are all about local hands, has trained over 6000 people in different faculties such as; Cosmetology, Automobile, Hospitality and Tourism, Fashion and Design; adding that her idea for the rural person to have a feel of what the township person has, is like a collective way of making every body’s life better.
Speaking on ESI at 10, she appreciated God for the privilege, her husband and the donors for their support to the NGO.
“ESI has come to stay and have done well, I believe that it is a new phase that the NGO is starting.
“It has been able to take a lot of people to another level under the entrepreneural scheme, it has taken care of people in respect to health and has advocated for issues that pertain to life and livelihood” she remarked.
On the way forward, she noted that more infrastructure is needed, adding also that the NGO will concentrate more on infrastructure. “Because we have rented a lot of places to use over the years but we will focus on developing all that we have not finished. Structures are important to consolidate on our projects.
“The NGO is on a recovery mission and it is working to have a Centre of Excellence which will have classrooms for the 92 skills, offices, accommodation and hostels and we hope to have 300 bedrooms and 92 classrooms.We are looking at having a centre that will satisfy the needs of the growing populace.
“ESI in the next few years will be in God’s hand. We are trying to organise all we have done into one headquarter. There is a need to keep doing the trainings to see people settled in their businesses.
“We are also looking at the kids who have distinguished themselves in the area of academics. Our Pioneer students are 13 years old today and are doing very well and we hope to have a primary school in every nursery schools” she explained.
She called on the new generation of people in Nigeria to make a change, urging them not to wait for government to do everything for them. “We need to have a different narrative” she stressed.
The Empowerment Support Initiative (ESI) which takes care of Women, Youth and the less privilege, also has health outreaches and capacity building schemes.
We wish ESI a happy 10th anniversary.