Bayelsa disburses N126m cash grant to SMEs

Governor Douye Diri, Bayelsa State Governor

The Bayelsa State government on Monday dispensed a cash grant of N126 million to 630 Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) operators with origins from the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that each of the beneficiaries got a cash grant of N200,000.

The State’s Commissioner for Women, Children Affairs, and Empowerment, Mrs. Faith Opuene, during the presenting ceremony said that the desire to promote entrepreneurship among the populace was what motivated the gesture.

According to the commissioner, it is a component of the government’s statewide program for youth and women’s empowerment.

The need to help Bayelsa State-born small business owners develop and extend their current enterprises, according to Opuene, was caused by the fact that non-indigenous people dominated the SMEs.

She stated that there were two recipients—a man and a woman—from each of the 105 political wards in the state’s eight local government districts.

The financial disbursement, according to the commissioner, was for the months of March, April, and May.

She continued by saying that Governor Douye Diri has promised to support 210 small business owners on a monthly basis till the conclusion of his tenure.

“The economy of our state is not within our reach; that is because ours is a civil service state and the SMEs space is dominated by people from outside Bayelsa who drive our economy.

“As part of efforts to encourage entrepreneurship among Bayelsa people, our governor approved the empowerment of one man, one woman from each of the 105 wards as part of efforts to spread prosperity among the people.

“Governor Diri had in the second anniversary celebration in February 2022 directed that for the remaining part of his tenure, 210 people who are running small businesses should be supported with a cash grant of N200,000 each,” Opuene said.

She explained that the empowerment scheme was done by a seven-member committee, which had been put in place, a mechanism to ensure that no beneficiary draws the cash more than once.

She said that the biometrics of the beneficiaries were being taken before the disbursement to check multiple payments and advised the beneficiaries to deploy the funds into their businesses.

She stated that there were plans to keep an eye on beneficiaries’ performance and provide further help for their enterprises as they went through various stages of development, but she added that only those who expanded their firms would profit from such future initiatives.

Mr. Tonbra Etiti, a physically challenged recipient who talked to NAN at the occasion, said he would use some of the grant money for his own business and set aside some for his wife’s supply store to help her grow.

He praised the state government for helping small enterprises and asked it to continue providing funding.

Additionally, Mrs. Ibomotimi Wapamo, who sells (Madiga) snacks made from leftovers from bread bakeries, said the grant was a lifeline for her company and that she planned to use the money to expand into other pastries.

According to Wapamo, this is her first time of benefiting from government’s empowerment scheme and expressed gratitude to the state government.


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