Bayelsa State Government on Monday disbursed a cash grant of N126 million to 630 Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) operators of the State origin.
The Tide’s source reports that each of the beneficiaries got a cash grant of N200,000.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, the State Commissioner for Women, Children Affairs and Empowerment, Mrs Faith Opuene, said the gesture was born out of the need to encourage entrepreneurship amongst the people.
According to the Commissioner, it is part of government’s empowerment programme for women and youths across the State.
Opuene said the SMEs sector in the State were dominated by non indigenes, hence the need to assist small business owners who hailed from Bayelsa to grow and expand their existing businesses.
She explained that the beneficiaries comprised two persons, a man and a woman from each of the 105 political wards from the eight Local Government Areas of Bayelsa.
The Commissioner said the cash disbursement was for the months of March, April and May 2022.
She added that the gesture was in fulfillment of a pledge by the State Governor, Douye Diri, to support 210 small business operators monthly to the end of his tenure.
“The economy of our State is not within our reach; that is because ours is a civil service state and the SMEs space is dominated by people from outside Bayelsa who drive our economy.
“As part of efforts to encourage entrepreneurship amongst Bayelsa people, our Governor approved the empowerment of one man, one woman from each of the 105 wards as part of efforts to spread prosperity amongst the people.
“Governor Diri had in the second anniversary celebration in February 2022 directed that for the remaining part of his tenure, 210 persons who are running small businesses should be supported with a cash grant of N200,000 each,” Opuene said.
She explained that the empowerment scheme was done by a seven-member committee, which had been put in place, a mechanism to ensure that no beneficiary draws the cash more than once.
She said the biometrics of the beneficiaries were being taken before the disbursement to check multiple payments and advised the beneficiaries to deploy the funds into their businesses.
The Commissioner informed that there were plans to monitor the performance of beneficiaries and further support their businesses in various phases of development, adding that only those who grew their businesses would benefit from such future plans.
A physically challenged beneficiary, Mr Tonbra Etiti, who spoke to The Tide’s source at the event, said he would inject the grant in his trade, and also put some in his wife’s provision store to expand her business.
He commended the State Government for the support to small scale businesses and urged the government to sustain the grants.
Another beneficiary, Mrs Ibomotimi Wapamo, who sells (Madiga) snack from bye product from bread bakeries, said the grant was a lifeline to her business, adding that she would expand into other pastries with the capital.
According to Wapamo, this is her first time of benefiting from government empowerment scheme. She expressed gratitude to the State Government for the grant.
Real Estate Firm Trains 350 Youths
A real estate firm, Adozilion Homes and Realty, has trained 350 young men and women in real estate entrepreneurship.
The week-long training was held during a seminar themed “Eklisia Realtors Conference”, which was held in Lagos.
In a statement, the Chief Executive Officer of Adozilion Homes and Realty, Dr Adozi Simon, said the conference was aimed at equipping young realtors with the knowledge and tools needed to thrive in the dynamic Nigerian real estate market.
Simon said, “There is a very critical housing deficit in Nigeria. Millions lack adequate shelter, and bridging this gap requires innovative solutions and partnerships”.
He explained that Adozillion Homes and Realty organised the event to empower and transform 350 young entrepreneurs and give them the necessary knowledge to excel in the real estate sector.
He added, “We believe in empowering realtors and recognising excellence to contribute to the growth and success of the entire industry, and that is why we have trained and empowered over 350 of you young men and women at this conference.
”The future of the Nigerian housing industry lies in collaboration, innovation, and commitment to inclusivity”.
He also highlighted the need for collaboration with the government to drive regulation, quality, transparency, and accountability.
Meanwhile, the Board Chairman of Adozillion Homes and Realty, Dr Sam Egube, acknowledged the challenges of rising cost of land, limited access to finance, and inadequate infrastructure in the country.
He urged realtors to be intentional in their approach and collaborate effectively.
Dr Egube said, “The poor is the man who thinks receiving is his only way out of poverty. Be intentional about how you collaborate with the government to drive regulation, quality, transparency, and accountability”.
Also, a keynote speaker at the conference, Dr Niyi Adesanya, lamented the rising housing deficit across the country.
He said, “Every Nigerian deserves a safe, secure, and dignified place to call home. Don’t ever ask for help if you’re in the midst of the one per cent (rich). The quality of your conversation can change your life.
“The Eklisia realtors’ conference stands as a testament to the company’s dedication to advancing the real estate profession and ultimately paving the way for a thriving real sector and fulfilling the dream of accessible and dignified housing for all Nigerians”.
Adozilion Homes and Realty last year launched the Monte Carlo City in the Epe area of Lago State.
ACCI Urges Govt To Confront, Eliminate Multiple Taxation
The new President of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Chief Emeka Obegolu, has urged both Federal and State Governments to deal with the problem of multiple taxation to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive and create jobs.
“We must confront multiple taxation and eliminate it. We must put Nigerians to work”, Barrister Obegolu said at his inauguration ceremony as the 12th President of the ACCI in Abuja, recently.
“We must never forget that it is the private sector – not the government – that is the engine of economic opportunity. Businesses, particularly small businesses, flourish and can provide good jobs when the government acts as a productive partner”, he said.
Commending the Federal Government’s bold move to remove fuel subsidy and its initiatives such as the unification of the foreign exchange market and the student loan programme, he said though the measures may have initially tested Nigerians’ resilience, they will, with time, yield the desired results.
Obegolu urged the government to deepen the collaboration with the private sector, represented by the chamber of commerce, a partnership that, he said, has the potential to significantly benefit the business community, the society at large, and the national economy.
Obegolu said because of the nature of Nigeria’s strategic and national security challenges, there is a need for everyone to work together with the national security and defence architecture to ensure pragmatic and visible support for national security and defence and; promote public cooperation across the sectors.
He said the ACCI will in conjunction with the defence and national security leadership institute, organise an annual summit on security, defence, and business to review and proffer solutions to the challenges facing Nigeria as a nation.
“This will foster confidence and assurance that Nigeria is a safe destination for investment”, he stated.
He promised that under his watch, ACCI would proactively adapt to the evolving landscape. He also said his presidency will prioritise collaboration with the government and other non-state stakeholders, and capacity building within the ACCI team, enhancing management processes for improved efficiency and productivity.
“I have spent my working life in the private sector, 25 years in the private sector. I understand that when the government takes money out of the hands of people, it shrinks their disposable income. If they can’t buy things, the economy doesn’t grow. If the economy doesn’t grow, we won’t put Nigerians to work”, he stated.
In a goodwill message, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu, described ACCI as a beacon for innovation and economic growth and a staunch advocate for ease of doing business.
He urged the new ACCI President and his counterparts in other Chambers of Commerce to find programmes to bring the youths closer to the chambers.
“Bring the youths to the entrepreneurial programmes you have. Please prioritise initiatives that promote inclusion; expose them to opportunities that will make them have confidence in doing the right things”, the lawmaker urged.
He also told the leaders of the various chambers of commerce in the Southeast region to come up with ways of developing themselves and impacting society.
FG Plans PPP For Port Scanner Installations
The Federal Government says it is considering the Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) option to oversee the installation and maintenance of scanning technology at the nation’s ports.
This was disclosed in a statement on Monday after the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, and his Transportation counterpart, Said Alkali, met with the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Adewale Adeniyi, in Abuja.
The trip agreed that physical inspection of cargoes at the ports must be phased out.
According to The Tide’s source’s report, the immediate past Comptroller-General of Customs, Col Hameed Ali (retd), at the unveiling of the three scanners at Apapa in 2022, said the Federal Government would be procuring more scanners before the end of 2023.
Agents have, however, called on the government to install more scanners in the country’s seaports and border stations to boost cargo clearance.
In a statement jointly signed by the spokesperson for the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Ismail Omipidan, and the Customs spokesman, Abdullahi Maiwada, the government officials agreed that the collaborative model aims to sustain efficiency and foster innovation in cargo inspection processes.
They added that the use of modern technologies like scanners was important in addressing the issue of port congestion in a bid to ensure efficiency and competitiveness even as the CGC was charged to enforce the use of scanners at the ports.
At the meeting, the Ministers endorsed immediate action to rectify and optimise all existing scanners at prominent ports such as Apapa, Tincan Island, Onne, and Port & Terminal Multipurpose Limited.
“Simultaneously, the existing mobile scanners will be strategically deployed to facilitate expeditious cargo inspections”, the statement said.
Also speaking, the Managing Director of Nigerian Railway Corporation, Fidet Okhiria, who attended virtually, pledged NRC’s continued commitment to freighting cargoes to inland container depots/dry ports, adding that it would be a strategic move to alleviate congestion at major ports.
Plans were also unveiled at the meeting for the efficient evacuation of containers from Port Harcourt to Aba, with future extensions envisaged for Onne Port.
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