Disburses N1bn SME loan to 15,000 beneficiaries
GOVERNOR Willie Obiano of Anambra State has sustained his momentum in human capital development and capacity building for boosting the micro economy of the state. The governor has in the past months disbursed funds to various missionary schools owned differently by the Catholic Mission and the Anglican Dominion in Anambra State to provide conducive learning environment and facilities for better performance of the pupils and students.
Subsequently, Governor Obiano has extended his commitment to the development of the state to empowering women and youths into several micro economic activities, including agriculture.
Kingsley Ezekwelu, Special Assistant to the Governor of Media, in a statement, revealed that in flagging off the 2016 Farming Season in Anambra State, Obiano disbursed the sum of N1 billion under his initiative of ASBA/CBN Micro-Credit Scheme for Micro Enterprises to thousands of beneficiaries, in addition to 25 Super Water Pumping Machines distributed to Cooperatives to assist in all-year farming in riverine communities of the state.
Under the Micro-Credit Scheme provided for a minimum of 5,000 beneficiaries, an individual is to benefit a maximum of N500,000 while Cooperatives of 10 members, each, will get N5,000,000 maximum.
Governor Obiano, at the flag off, disclosed that his administration has attracted $1.101 billion across seven major investments in the agricultural sector. He maintained that the State has achieved so much through the agricultural sector to justify his administration’s decision to make agriculture its major development pillar.
He revealed that in collaboration with a Ukranian Company, his government had procured 100 tractors to provide low-cost tractorisation services to farmers in the state this planting season, adding that in addition to the provisions, 250 million naira has been expended in procuring improved seedlings for the year’s planting.
The Governor revealed that a monitoring team has been set up to supervise the implementation of the loan, urging beneficiaries to put the money to proper use.
In a goodwill message, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbe, represented by the South East Regional Director of the Ministry, Dr. Uche Nwafor, said the efforts of the State Government in the agric sector is consistent with the vision of the Federal Government at making agriculture a major foreign exchange earner for the country.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, Mechanization, Processing and Export, Mr Afam Mbanefo, described the theme of the 2016 farming season, “beyond self-sufficiency in food production: thinking globally, acting locally” as a demonstration of the state government’s commitment towards a sustainable agricultural development scheme that will support farmers be at their best in their production as well as create a market for their produce.
The Managing Director, Anambra Small Business Agenda (ASBA), Chief Clement Chukwuka, explained that the Micro-Credit is in furtherance of the Governor’s mandate to the Agency to provide single-digit interest financial support to Micro, Small and Medium Scale Entreprises in the State.
The Awka Branch Controller of Central Bank of Nigeria, Chuks Sokari, commended the Obiano administration for quickly setting up a Special Purpose Vehicle for the Micro-Credit provisions made by the CBN which has provided Creative Financing options for small businesses in the State.
Some beneficiaries of the Micro-credit who include, George Obi, a representative of Greenland Disabled Ricemill Cooperative Omor, Mrs. Sabina Anunike, representing Eze Mechanized Agro-Farms and Chief Kentus Onwura, acknowledged that the financial support will help boost their businesses and promised to repay the loan when due.
Moreover, in his commitment to mass production of agricultural produce in 2016 and beyond, Governor Obiano disbursed over N250 million for the purchase and acquisition of improved high-yielding seedlings for distributed to the farmers in the state for this year’s farming season.
Governor Obiano, hosting a visiting joint delegation from the World Bank and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development at the Governor’s Lodge, Awka, stated that his administration is sustaining its exploits in the agriculture sector to ensure the State achieves food sufficiency across all its major crop belts and generate surplus for export.
Kingsley Ezekwelu, S.A., Media to the Governor, in a statement, explained that the delegation was there to inspect ongoing FADAMA projects in parts of the state. He disclosed that Anambra State is one of the six states in the country benefitting from the FADAMA programme.
The team will also explore other areas of partnership with state in Agricultural development, Youth and Women Empowerment.
Obiano had noted that of the total 24 major investments which his administration had attracted, nine are agro-based. He reiterated the premium his administration places on agriculture as its number one development pillar and thanked the team for its support.
He assured that Anambra under his watch will maintain its pole position in the partnership with the programme by promptly meeting its obligation for the collaboration.
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The Leader of the Delegation and FADAMA Task Team Leader with the World Bank, Adetunji Oredipe, had earlier indicated that Anambra has remained exemplary in its commitment towards prompt meeting with its counterpart obligation, commending the governor for his high performance in the execution of the FADAMA 3 programme, which he attributed to the sanity and organisation it has entrenched.
According to Oredipe, the programme has keyed into the State’s Agriculture Vision and plans to support the Government towards its realization in the areas of land clearing, tractor services, rural infrastructural development, youth and women empowerment, strengthening farmers-off takers relationship, amongst others.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, Mechanization and Export, Afam Mbanefo, remarked that the state’s collaborative efforts with FADAMA has availed farmers in the state so much not only in the area of provision of technical support and farm inputs but also in the upgrade of infrastructure at the rural places.
An Agro-expert with the National FADAMA office, Bernard Herbert, also remarked that with the support they are getting from Governor Obiano, the programme is sure to achieve its set objectives in the state.