By Tina Ezin
Over 7,000 entrepreneurs in Cross River state have benefited from the Federal Government’s Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP).
The loan raging from N50, 000 to N100, 000 was disbursed by the Bank of Industry,( BOI), to beneficiaries last week in Calabar during the presentation of loan certificates to them.
The Executive Director of Micro Enterprise, BOI, Mrs. Toyin Adeniji said the programme was one of the social intervention programmes of Federal Government to grant access to interest-free loans for market women, traders, farmers, cooperatives and youths.
Adeniji said, “The GEEP programme is the one that has immediate direct impact on the lives of the people. It is also a micro programme, very easy to access and everyone is qualified to access once you are into one commercial business or the other.
“The programme is targeted at market women, artisans, youths and small holder farmers. Today, the government is giving out loans in the region of N50,000 to N100,000. The loans are payable over six months and they are payable in weekly instalment so that it can be easy for the beneficiaries. BOI has been given a task to make sure that this money gets to N1.6million beneficiaries across Nigeria and today we are all over Nigeria.”
She further said that the bank disbursed about N185million to over 3,840 beneficiaries across 105 associations in Cross River in 2017.
While commending the federal government for the initiative, the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs. Stella Odey, said it had engaged women and youths in entrepreneurships.
Odey said, “I must commend the Federal Government for the laudable initiative of helping our women, artisans, farmers and youths to grow their small businesses. Cross River state place premium on the empowerment of women; what we have seen here today shows clearly that the federal government is determined to engage the citizens in productive ventures.”