About 8,000 youths and entrepreneurs in Bayelsa state have benefitted from the various programme initiated by the state Microfinance and Enterprise Development Agency in the last four years.
While 4,000 entrepreneurs were direct beneficiaries of the various SME schemes, another 4,000 were identified as indirect beneficiaries with jobs and employment opportunities.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Bayelsa State Governor in charge of the State Microfinance and Enterprise Development Agency, Mr. Ebiekure Eradiri, who made this known yesterday during a media briefing as part of activities to mark the 2018 World SME day with the theme ‘Youth Dimension”, said the beneficiaries ranges from entrepreneurs involved in the production goods and services in the state.
Eradiri noted that though the agency received partnership from the Central Bank of Nigeria and Bank of Industry to the tune of N4billion, the scheme recorded successes and have raised the profile of business activities in the State.
He also explained that the loans distributed to beneficiaries through the SME bank is recoverable compared to the schemes initiated by past administration with an improved repayment rate of over 62 per cent.
On the role played by the Bayelsa State Microfinance and Enterprise Development Agency during the 2016 recession in states, Mr. Ebiekure Eradiri noted that business owners and other entrepreneurs received support and business advices from the agency, “and they did not completely go under. ”
Eradiri commended the State Governor Seriake Dickson for the huge commitment and unprecedented inveaent in small and medium businesses with the aim of empowering the teeming population and creating employment opportunities.
Meanwhile, over 300 participants in the 2018 Africa SME round table held in Yenagoa with the theme ‘ the position of Africa SMEs within the Global Economy: Unlocking market opportunities”, resolved and called on participating countries to formulate government policies that protect and promote the interest of SMEs.
The participants, in a communique made available in Yenagoa and signed by the Executive Director of the Knight Lambert Foundation, Sir Innocent Iyalla Harry, asked the government of participating countries to train and equip entrepreneurs with business and management skills drafting business plans.
“States should use efficient accounting systems and frugal fund management. Development of clearer road map for Agricultural entrepreneur aimed at developing the agriculture sector. Improvement of power generation and development of other critical infrastructures. Funding of research and development centres. ”
“Provision of Information on alternative sources of funding opportunities of MSMEs and required conditions for accessing such for SMEs growth. Develop SMEs that are in line with African culture and traditions.