The Kogi government says it has commenced the disbursement of funds to Micro, Small and Medium-sized business owners in the state to boost entrepreneurial development.
The gesture is said to be done in collaboration with the Kogi enterprise development agency (KEDA).
In a recent statement by Yemi Balogun, public relations officer, KEDA, the agency revealed the funds disbursed to beneficiaries is a project by the COVID-19 action recovery and economic stimulus (KG-CARES) targeting businesses that were adversely affected by the pandemic.
In March 2021, Yahaya Bello, governor of Kogi said he had no need for vaccines, insisting that there was no coronavirus in the state.
“COVID-19 is not our business in Kogi state. We have more prominent issues,” Bello had said.
But the state government continued to receive COVID-19 relief funds from the federal government.
Speaking on the disbursement, KEDA disclosed the funds are meant to aid the recovery of MSMEs and enhance the capacities of small businesses in the operational sector, not leaving behind those who took loans from financial institutions and for information communication technology enhancement.
It added that the funds include, DLI 3.1 (a credit grant), DLI 3.2 (an operational grant), and DLI 3.3 (an ICT enhancement grant).
Rekiya Sanni, Managing Director, KEDA, said the governor has shown “unparalleled commitment” to business growth and wealth creation in the state.
“As a matter of fact, this is a grant and not a loan given to beneficiaries and they are not expected to pay back,” she said.
“The governor put us on our toes and gave us a marching order to ensure business owners get the funds in the first week of January.
“My staff went to work to deliver on the mandate of his excellency because we know and understand his passion for business growth in the state. Let me reiterate the fact that KEDA is desirous of monitoring the application of the funds to ensure they are used for the purposes they are meant for.
“This is just an iceberg of support queued by the new direction government to Kogi business communities.”
Also speaking on the government financial support, Eniola Jethro, one of the beneficiaries, said the funds received would be used to expand his business.
“I woke up to an alert from the KG-CARES this morning and I was wondering if it was a dream. But it is a reality. While we were celebrating Christmas and New Year, our government was busy working to put smiles on our faces,” Jethro said.
Eniola Olayemi, deputy coordinator, National Youth Council of Nigeria, Kogi West, lauded the efforts of the KEDA for the “sterling transparency in selecting beneficiaries”.
According to Olayemi, the country will be better if people with genuine needs and business plans are treated in the manner the state is currently doing.
“With the mechanism KEDA set up in line with the governor’s principle of equity and transparency, it was so seamless and everyone is satisfied,” he said.