Launch of One-Stop Shop National MSME and CRS Women

Cross River State Governor, His Excellency, Senator (Prof) Ben Ayade has pledged continued support to the Micro Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME), and Cross River State women to enable them benefits maximally from the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) of the federal government, Cross River State Governor. The Governor made the pledge during the National Micro Small and Medium Enterprise Clinics for viable Enterprises/ Launch of one stop shop for MSME in Cross River State, held recently at the Calabar International Conference Centre (CICC), Calabar. Governor Ayade who was represented by the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Hon. Stella Odey welcome all present to the Launch of one stop shop for MSME, especially members of the entourage from the offce of the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo led by the Special Assistant to the Vice President on MSME, members of the Bank of Industry (BOI), His wife, Dr. (Mrs.) Linda Ayade and other dignitaries. The Governor stated that he believes in the growth of women hence the reason for his support to Cross River State women as well as help them access the GEEP loans. GEEP is a Federal Government Social Intervention Program for market women who are their main target and has equally given GEEP an enabling environment to thrive in the state. Governor Ayade commended the effort of his his wife Linda who has been playing a complementary role in his administration by her laudable initiatives for the betterment of Cross River State women, children, the less privileged, among others through her Non Governmental Organization, (Mediatrix Development Foundation), while enjoining all to relax and enjoy the beautiful cuisines of Cross River State.

Presenting certificates to some of the beneficiaries, the wife of the Governor disclosed that the 5,000 people that are being credited in the state by the Bank of Industry were randomly selected across the three senatorial districts of the state. According to her, the first set of co-operative societies submitted in Cross River Women Emancipation Initiative (CROWEI) were not made up of women from the Southern Senatorial District alone but from the entire state. She stated that the 2,500 persons that have been credited and alert being sent to their mobile phones are not all resident in Calabar for some are in their villages, in Yala, Obanliku, and other Local Government Areas of the state hence the reason why many women who were privileged to be in Calabar for the event complained of not receiving their alert, adding that, after the event the remaining 2,500 and more will still receive their alert as long as their names and Bank Verification Number (BVN) were properly documented and met the qualification required. She therefore enjoined those whose names were not among those to be credited that day to exercise patience and wait for their turn, while also encouraging them to rejoice with their sisters who have already received their alerts, reminding them of CROWEI Song which says ‘lean on me’ and that “if your sister is happy you ought to be happy too” and used the occasion to express appreciation to the office of the Vice President of Nigeria, Bank of Industry (BOI) for the empowerment and women groups, amongt others. In his remarks, the Special Assistant to the Vice President of Nigeria on Micro small and Medium Enterprise, Mr. Tola Johnson expressed thanks to all present especially the wife of the Governor for finding time in her busy schedule to be part of the ceremony.

According to him, they were in the state in fulfillment of the promise made by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo to Governor Ayade during his visit to the State in June, 2017 adding that, since the Governor has shown the capacity to deliver they have therefore identified Cross River State as one of the states to launch the one-stop shop and also disburse loans to Cross Riverians who are into small scale enterprises with their target being the market women. He disclosed that during their last visit to the state, they identified ten outstanding businesses in Calabar and they have therefore decided to give the owners of these businesses N500,000 each to assist them in running their businesses. Mr. Johnson further advised those collecting the GEEP Loans to use the money wisely, adding that, if they are faithful in paying back the initial 50,000 given to them in six months, they will be quali_ ed to get higher amounts subsequently and also enjoined them to make effective use of the opportunity provided them by the Federal and State Governments as well as resist the temptation of paying money to any agent for the forms, as they are free of charge. Speaking on GEEP Update and Cross River State Activation, the Executive Director (ED), Micro Enterprise, Bank of Industry (BOI), Mrs. Toyin Adeniji expressed thanks to the State Governor, Senator (Prof.) Ben Ayade and his wife, Dr. Linda for their support. According to her, the GEEP alert program is a social intervention program by the Federal Government and a Micro Credit to help those who have small scale businesses and cannot have access to bank loans like the market women as well as the artisans as 700% of the funds goes to the women while 30% goes to the men folk who are into small scale enterprises.

She reiterated that the N50,000 loans will be paid over a period of six months in weekly installments and that over 1.6million Nigerians have benefited from the scheme, adding that the initial amount is between N20 and N50,000 for a start, with over 7,000 loans to be distributed to Cross River State. She promising that they will do more for the state and that with close collaboration with the market women, traders, leaders and other stakeholders will arrive at their target, for they want the business to grow in Cross River State. Mrs. Adeniji appealed to leaders to encourage their members to access the loans by belonging to cooperative societies and having a bank account/BVN. She further emphasized that on no account should anybody pay any money to an agent for the government does not charge any money except what the beneficiaries are paying back, while appreciating large turnout. Earlier in her remarks, the National Deputy Auditor for the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Hon. Amina Arong appreciated the technical officers of MSME from the Office of the Vice President of Nigeria and members of BOI for attending the event, adding that 10,400 beneficiaries have been identified for the loans in the state and 5,000 are to be credited beginning from the day of the launch event in Calabar. The PDP National Deputy Auditor thanked all government agencies that have worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the programme at the national, state and local government levels. Highpoint of the occasion were;

presentation of certificates to Blessing Edet, Glory Okon, Rex Bisong, Ntui Paul, Nya Bassey, amongst other beneficiaries by Dr. Linda Ayade, inspection of one-stop shop, interactive session (question/answer), photographs. the event attracted dignitaries, stakeholders, and women groups from within and outside the state

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