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Edo, BoI Unveil Fund For 50,000 Entrepreneurs

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The Edo State Government and the Bank of Industry (BoI), have unveiled a Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) development fund worth N2 billion to support entrepreneurs in the state.
The fund was launched during a citizens’ engagement session organised by the Edo State Skills Development Agency, also known as Edo Jobs, held at the Government House in Benin City.
Speaking at the event, Governor Godwin Obaseki said, “The Bank of Industry (BoI), which is a reliable partner, is here today to launch the MSME fund. The initial amount is N2 billion. Edo State Government provided N1 billion, while BoI provided the other N1 billion, making it N2 billion, with an attractive interest rate.”
”In addition, we have a N165 million fund, as part of the first tranche from the Edo State Government. It will be made available to small businesses, which are currently domiciled in our production hub, to support and encourage them to grow their businesses.
“BoI has the capacity and resources to support this kind of programme. From this N2 billion fund, we estimate that we can impact as many as 50,000 businesses in Edo State. We have other facilities with other institutions like the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). This is a start-up fund, as we expect it to continue to grow: If you start with N50,000, now and when you do well tomorrow in your business, you will need N200,000.
Borrowing is part of business, provided you continue to grow,” the governor stated.
The Governor assured that despite the Covid-19 pandemic, his administration remained committed to improving the livelihoods of the people and creating opportunities for the youths to thrive.
He stated: “We have continued to create opportunities for Edo youths as our administration is open, transparent and competent in all we do. We urge Edo people to trust us, as all the opportunities that we present are real, and life-transforming for Edo people.”
On his part, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, BoI, Mr. Olukayode Pitan, said that “in a quest to grow and develop MSME businesses in the country, the bank has resolved to continue to collaborate with existing enterprises, as well as reputable local and international partners.
“This MSME fund is aimed at providing business loans to enterprises located within the state, while the second fund is the N165 million Edo Production Hub Fund, financed by the Edo State Government. The Edo Production Hub Fund is managed by the BOI and is to support businesses located within the state-owned production hub.”
Later, the governor and his team, as well as his guests were also taken on a guided tour of the Edo Production Hub. They also commissioned the new Bank of Industry building in Benin City.

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WFD: RSG Assures Proactive Agric Dev Policy

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Rivers State Government has unveiled plans to embark on an aggressive agric development in across the 23 local government areas of the state.
The state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike gave this indication during this year’s World Food Day celebrations.
Against this backdrop, he called on the people of the state and entrepreneurs to invest in agriculture to create wealth, employment, and enhance food security.
Speaking through the Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Fred Kpakol, the governor charged farmers to take advantage of the vast arable land and water the state was endowed with to aggressively involve in agriculture.
The 2021 World Food Day celebration held at the Rumuodomaya Farm in Obio/Akpor, yesterday, had the theme, ‘Safe Food Today For A Healthy Tomorrow.’
The governor said, “We need to put our resources together and use the agricultural products to create wealth, create business and also generate employment.
“I want to let the world know that Rivers State is an ambiguous state with the products you have displayed here today. We also want the world to know that Rivers State is blessed with good and quality food”, Wike said.
In his remarks, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Fred Kpakol commended the governor for investing so much in agriculture with the construction of the Rivers State Cassava Processing Company in Afam, in Oyigbo LCA, and other agro-based projects in the state.
He noted that the cassava plant, when fully operational, would process 45,000metric tons of cassava tubers into 12,500 high-quality cassava flour that would be used by companies and would also provide Jobs for over 3,000 persons.
He said that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, in partnership with the state government, had recently supplied 10,000 bundles of improved TMS419 cassava cuttings to farmers in the 23 local governments in the state.
“I want to encourage all of you that collected the high yielding cassava stems to cultivate it to provide food and raw material that will feed the Rivers State Cassava Processing Plant,” he said.
Kpakol also disclosed that the state government was constructing a state-of-the-art automated abattoir in Mgbousimini, Obio/Akpor LGA, and explained that the slaughterhouse can kill 400 cattle and 150 goats per day.
“The Mgbousimini abattoir is automated and will meet the demands of the people. It is strategically located by the seashore for easy accessibility to both the riverine and the hinterland; and it will generate revenue to the state, local government, and to individuals.
“Governor Nyesom Wike, just few days ago, approved the construction of a Veterinary Clinic and Laboratory here in Rumuodomaya, where animals and birds will be treated.
“Rivers State Government, in concert with the Benue State Government, has agreed to produce goods and services that they share different comparative advantage. They have identified rice as the goods, and modalities are in motion to produce what will be called ‘Benue/Rivers Rice.
“The state government through the Covid-19 Action Recovery Economic Stimulus, NG Cares is given access to input to poor and vulnerable households in agriculture,” Kpakol disclosed.
Kpakol further said that the state government has approved the rebuilding of the Taraba Jetty, also called Borokiri Jetty.
According to him, the governor has made recommendation of a high-profile company to handle the project.
He stated that the jetty when completed would promote deep sea and other types of fishing as well as creating employment.
Speaking earlier, the Deputy President, Port Harcourt Chambers of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (PHCCIMA), Eze Mike Elechi, had called on the government to encourage those that are into agriculture.
“Our vegetation encourages agriculture, and I wonder why people are talking about a bad economy when there is arable land to cultivate.
“I believe if we can feed ourselves, we won’t also talk about a bad economy,” he said.
He urged farmers to form association and reach out to PHCCIMA and the state Ministry of Agriculture so that they can be recognized and work with.

By: Kevin Nengia

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Three Kalabari, Emohua LG Bosses Launch Security Outfit, Friday

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In furtherance of the ongoing regional collaboration amongst the four intertwined local government areas of Emohua, Degema, Asari-Toru and Akuku-Toru, in an attempt to nip the security challenges along Emohua-Kalabari Road in the bud, the Chairman of Asari-Toru Local Government Area, Hon. Onengiyeofori George, and his counterparts from Emohua, Dr. Chidi Lloyd; Degema, Hon. Michael John Williams; and Akuku-Toru, Hon. Rowland Sekibo, have now concluded plans to launch a regional security outfit along critical state road.
The official launch ceremony has been scheduled to hold, this Friday at the Emohua Local Government Council Secretariat on the East-West Road section of the state.
The chairmen, after exhaustive discussions in a meeting, which held at the Degema Council’s Secretariat in Buguma City, last Monday, also unanimously resolved to collaborate with Lubrik Construction Company (LCC), handling the Trans-Kalabari Road construction, on the rehabilitation of the bad portions of the Emohua-Kalabari Road.
While addressing newsmen shortly after their closed-door security meeting, the Chairman of Akuku-Toru Local Government Area, Hon Rowland Sekibo said that the four LGAs have resolved to launch a regional security outfit, which would be beneficial to all and sundry who live and do business in Kalabari and in Emohua.
He said the measure was geared towards strengthening security along the Emohua-Kalabari Road to boost economic activities in the LGAs.
Sekibo further said that the security outfit would be launched and provided with operational vehicles and other security gadgets at the Emohua Council Secretariat.
He said: “Let me start by thanking my colleagues for good sacrifices we have all made in making sure we provide security for our people.
“With all pleasure, we are in Buguma, the headquarters of Asari-Toru Local Government Area, and by this, we have completed the visitation of the four LGAs.
“Today’s meeting is basically putting our words into action. Let me also use this medium to invite you all, the general public, especially people from Emohua, Degema, Asari-Toru and Akuku-Toru, that by our next meeting, we will be commissioning our regional security outfit and security regiment so people can conveniently ply that road without the fear of being kidnapped.
“I want to use this opportunity to thank Lubrik Construction Company for their collaboration in starting the remedial work on the failed sections of the Emohua-Kalabari Road, because we have identified that one of the reasons for which that ugly incident happened was due to the deplorable state of that road”, he added.
In his remarks, the Asari-Toru Local Government Chairman, Hon. Onengiyeofori George expressed delight with the progress so far made by the chairmen, and hoped that the synergy would continue to yield positive dividends for the people of the respective LGAs.
He used the opportunity to also show the LGA chairmen round the new face of the ASALGA-First Project.
Speaking at the meeting with the LG chairmen, the Managing Director of Lubrik Construction Company, Mr Haddi Chaddi pledged to provide materials and machinery for the remediation of the bad sections of the road.
It would be recalled that the LGA chairmen had met with the management of LCC at their corporate headquarters in Port Harcourt penultimate Monday in furtherance of their quest to provide security along the Emohua-Kalabari Road.
The culmination of the collaborative efforts of the council chairmen came to fruition, as heavy-duty trucks were witnessed working on the road on October 15, 2021, as earlier promised.
During an inspection tour of the repair work, the four LGA chairmen said the synergy became necessary because a section of the road had turned to target for miscreants who take advantage of the poor state of the road to perpetuate their nefarious activities.
The Emohua-Kalabari Road which is a Trunk B Road and the only road linking the three Kalahari-speaking LGAs via Emohua, has become so deplorable that motorists and other road users plying the route lament the poor condition of the road as it impacts negatively on trade and commerce within the area.

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NCC Charges Licencees On Compliance

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The Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, has advised telecom licencees to comply with the laws, subsidiary legislations and other regulatory frameworks put in place by the commission to ensure a more competitive and sustainable telecoms sector.
The EVC gave the advice at a two-day tripartite dialogue of the commission tagged, ‘Talk To The Regulator (TTTR) Forum’ which held in Kano, yesterday.
The programme was attended by representatives of more than 104 telecoms licencees in various categories and segments of the telecoms market as well as consumers of telecoms services.
Danbatta said while the commission continued to engender effective regulatory environment, there was the need for licencees to support several initiatives designed to enhance market opportunities for its licencees.
“Telecoms industry sustainability can only be guaranteed where licensees ensure full and effective compliance with licence conditions and other regulatory prescriptions. So, this forum provides an opportunity to discuss areas where some of our licensees are falling short of their licence obligations, and how we can collectively improve on the present situation,” he said.
The EVC highlighted some of the key policies that have been articulated by the Federal Government, including the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS, 2020-2030); the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP, 2020-202), the Revised National Digital Identity Policy for SIM Registration, among others, and sought the licencees’ full and unalloyed commitment to ensure their successful implementation.
He also briefed the licencees about some activities which the commission was pursuing to further facilitate the achievement of its regulatory mandate.
These include the recently-launched NCC’s five-pillar Strategic Vision Plan (SVP, 2021,2025); commencement of a comprehensive review of its licensing frameworks; ongoing reviews of other key regulatory instruments to align with the rapidly emerging contemporary developments; ongoing National Identification Number (NIN) and Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) linkage exercise; as well as the ongoing efforts to launch the Fifth Generation (5G) network in Nigeria.
The NCC CEO said, as the regulator, the NCC provides the enabling environment for healthy competition in the industry.
Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, NCC, Adeleke Adewolu, who amplified Danbatta’s voice on the need for strict compliance with telecoms regulations by the licensees, said telecoms has continued to lead national economic growth through effective regulation and adherence to rules of engagement by the licensees.
Adewolu said the sector has consistently driven growth of the Nigerian economy and has provided critical infrastructure required for the digital transformation of practically all spheres of life.
He declared that in the second quarter of 2021, the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector sustained its trajectory of growth and contributed 17.9per cent to the nation’s Gross Domestic product (GDP).
Adewolu, however, identified three key factors driving the sector’s performance to include a stable policy environment engendered by various digital economy policies; a consistent tradition of firm, fair, forthright, transparent and developmental regulatory oversight provided by the NCC; as well as long-term infrastructure investment and service commitments of telecoms licensees.
“The NCC has, therefore, organised this forum to enable us to strengthen collaboration along these three lines, to enable our valued stakeholders give us feedback on ongoing initiatives and to enable you seek clarifications on issue of concern,” Adewolu said.
In his remarks, Director, Licensing and Authorisation, NCC, Mohammed Babajika, said while the commission is fully aware and committed to discharging its mandate, especially in facilitating conducive telecoms environment and guiding the industry to sustain the achievement already recorded in the industry, these can only be possible with the cooperation and support of the licensees.
Babajika said the commission recognises the importance of various service providers, hence the need to constantly engage the licensees with a view to identifying generic and unique challenges and collectively proffering solutions to them.
The overarching objective of the forum, which is in line with NCC’s vision of strategic collaboration and partnership, was to get first-hand feedback from NCC’s licensees.
The programme would be hosted in other cities across the country during the year.

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