NewsGov Eno Splashes 1.5bn Interest-Free Loan For Traders In Akwa Ibom

Gov Eno Splashes 1.5bn Interest-Free Loan For Traders In Akwa Ibom

GTBCO FOOD DRINL

March 27, (THEWILL)- As part of measures to ease the rising cost of commodities in the country, a 1.5 billion naira interest-free revolving loan scheme has been instituted for all traders in Akwa Ibom State.

Under the scheme, 500 million naira is earmarked for traders in each of the three senatorial districts of the State.

Governor Umo Eno made the announcements while flagging off a food security programme for the vulnerable, neediest and the poor at the Itam Market, Itam in Itu local government area.

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The Governor who tagged the scheme, ARISE Free Food, emphasized his administration’s commitment to the well-being of the downtrodden and said he will continue to develop policies geared at lifting the poor from a state of despair.

Pastor Eno announced the appointment of three Senior Special Assistants to the Governor on Traders Matters to cover the three senatorial districts of the State, and ten special assistants on traders matters to cover the ten federal constituencies of the State.

He said the traders’ credit facilities will be made available to the traders through the State-owned Ibom Fadama Micro Finance Bank and urged the traders to open accounts in the bank.

” I hear that it is because market people get loans from places with high interest, and they are unable to pay back the loan and interest, which makes the prices of things high in the market.

“We are releasing to each senatorial district an interest-free loan of five hundred million Naira per senatorial district.

“Every money will be paid into the Ibom FADAMA Micro Finance Bank. So if you do not have an account with the bank, each business person should open an account with them.

“This is for everyone. There’s no such thing as a portfolio marketer. The people must have their stalls in the market working with the SAs and Market Union.”

He said this will enable effective monitoring and implementation of the various schemes instituted by his administration for traders in the State.

The Governor said the Bulk Purchase Agency, the anchor vehicle of the scheme, which was recently inaugurated in the State, was meant to work towards crashing and stabilizing the price of food in the State.

Speaking further on the scheme, the Governor charged the personal aides to ensure transparency and accountability in the process.

Pastor Eno announced plans to set up an Agriculture Committee to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the programme across the State.

“Let no one make any mistake so that these vouchers can be replicated. You will not be able to fake this one because these vouchers are printed by the Nigeria Printing and Minting Company and if we catch you, it is an offence.

“So when they give you the voucher then they will give you the food. Garri will be 5kg, rice 5kg, and beans 5kg.

“There is no guarantee that one person will have more than one voucher. So whatever voucher you have, take it to the market and a scale will be used by the agent at the redemption center to measure the food to you.

“For those who want to be part of the scheme, it is a business and all measurements must be done with scales and not cups. If you do not have a scale, you are not qualified.”

The Governor warned his aides drawn from all the 368 wards to ensure that only people who are in the social registers are given the food vouchers.

He also announced that each personal aide has been given a mobile computer tablet to ensure the social registers are meticulously used to execute the programme.

The Governor however insisted that “what is important is that we must have a way of sustaining this programme; all of us will go back to the farm.”

He recounted how he stopped over at a farm owned by a private individual in Ibesikpo Asutan local government area, adding that he was impressed and had to support him.

“The Governor said the Bulk Purchase Agency will be on hand to offtake crops harvested by farmers in the State at favourable costs to all farmers and encouraged everyone to take advantage of this offer to embrace farming.

On the request from the Itam market traders, the Governor approved the immediate execution of internal roads, drainages, borehole water, modern toilet facilities and solar street lights at the market, and warned that once in place, the Government would no longer condone street trading by traders.

Earlier, the Chairman of Bulk Purchase Agency, Dr Dan Akpan, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Offiong Offor, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Traders Matters, Mr Idorenyin Raphael and representative of traders, Godwin Ebong- President of Itam Traders Union and Madam Magdalene Udom, State Woman Leader of the trader‘s union, appreciated the Governor for embarking on the scheme and pledged their resolve to ensure they worked hard for the success of the food intervention programme.

The points of the ceremony were the presentation of food vouchers to some vulnerable persons from the Itu local government area, while other local government areas in the State are expected to carry out their flagoff next Tuesday.

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