Ebonyi Set to Disburse N2bn to MSMEs

By Ewa Innocent, The Sight News

Abakaliki: Two billion naira has been approved by Ebonyi state government for disbursement,on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise(MSME).

The disclosure came from the State Commissioner for Information and state Orientation, and Acting Commissioner for Human Capital Development, Barr. Uchenna Orji, while briefing newsmen on the outcome of this week’s State Executive Council meeting, held at EXCO chambers, government house, Abakaliki.

The Commissioner who was flanked by Commissioner for Health, Dr. Daniel Umazulike, and Commissioner for Works and Transport, Engr. Obasi Abara, said it was resolved by the Council that a number of groups will benefit from the loan disbursement,which he stressed,was secured from the Central bank of Nigeria.

His words; “We have the small business owners, they will have a fraction of that N2bn. We also have the Vocational College that is up and running, that is where we will develop our artisans especially those talented ones that are on the streets.

”We will develop and give them capacity as well as certification. Government feels that we also need to inject some money to ensure that the programme does not fail”.

Orji, said other groups to benefit include; market women who would take the chunk of the money,as well as the market men, to enable them develop their trades.

According to the Commissioner,the youths will also be accommodated, including the repentant cultists, assuring that people will be employers of labour,if invested in these areas.

“We hope that when this N2bn is invested in human development in any of these areas, it will add enough in ensuring self reliance and self sufficiency and people will also be proud employers of labour.

“I want to say that this money is not going to be a Grant. Last tenure we did a lot of disbursements that were grants, but in order to ensure performance, seriousness and that beneficiaries keep to their promise of making good use of the money, Exco resolved that all the beneficiaries will pay back this money with single digit interest of 6%. And as a matter of fact this is very fair.

“The disbursement will start immediately and as SSA on Human Capital Development in my office, we will sit on the matter and see to it that it was properly disbursed.

“And in doing this, we also interfaced with Zenith Bank which gave us the money, so that they will also monitor the performance.

“This shows that anybody that is ready to do business in Ebonyi state is entitled to partake of the loan. And usually, the governor does things on equality of local governments and equality of zones”.

Barr. Orji,further disclosed that CBN had scheduled Ebonyi as one of the states that will do aquaculture in its SMEs programmes, adding that the government will collect names of interested persons that will go into the aquaculture business.

Commissioner for Health, Dr Daniel Umazulike, said Council also approved N3.9bn for equipping the new State University Teaching Hospital under construction at Uburu in Ohaozara Local Government Area.

The Commissioner, who said the payment for the medical equipment would be paid first at 50% installment before production, stressed that state government was fully set to equip the state teaching hospital, just as he announced that the approvals by the state Executive Council,would be sent to House of Assembly for further approval before procurement,adding that the approval were three in number.

“The approvals today were three in number. One, is for the equipping of the theatre. It may interest you to know that we have about 11 theatre suites, making up all the specialties of the surgical unit.

“The total proposal is N1.9bn and it is to be supplied by the leading manufacturers in theatre equipment and general electric. The payment schedule is that 50 percent is to be paid before they commence production.

“The other department is the centre of excellence in maternal and child health where the total equipment needs is about N800m and 50 percent is also to be paid.

“The central sterilizing and supply department and physiotherapy and dental units were combined with a proposal of all the modern equipment of about N600m and 50 percent is also to be paid.

“Another interesting unit is the dialysis unit, which will come with a 12 units dialysis centre and it is to be supplied by the leading name in Switzerland, and they will provide 12 dialysis units with two spare ones, making it about 14. The total cost is €1.15 euros, about (N600m) and 50 percent is also to be paid.

“Council approved all these proposals to be forwarded to the State House of Assembly for further approval; because His Excellency believes in due process”.

Commissioner for Works and Transport, Engr. Obasi Abara, said Council approved the construction of the second phase of Uburu medical college Flyover bridge, approved additional fund for the dualization of Afikpo/Amasiri road,which is about 2.3 kilometers,approved dualization of Afikpo/Abakaliki road,and also approved the construction of the second phase of Mile 50/Ishieke road,which its first  phase had earlier been completed.

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