Market Scene in Niger Delta
The Akwa Ibom State Coordinator and the Focal Person in charge of the Social Investment Programme of the Federal Government of Nigeria Mr. Ita Okon have said that his agency is on the verge of disbursing soft loans to about 30,000 traders in the state. To this end about 310 volunteers are presently undergoing training in the N-Power Volunteer Service in Uyo, the State capital to train and equip them in the modalities of registering and supervising would be beneficiaries.
The loan is designed to target petty traders and assist their business to grow. The range of the loan facility is between N10, 000 – N50, 000 for the Ist batch and N100, 000 for the second batch. Mr. Okon explained that it is when a beneficiary in the 1st Phase has completely paid off his/her loan before such can qualify for the second phase.
The beneficiaries are expected to be drawn from various registered cooperative societies including women cooperative societies. They are expected to be thoroughly screened by the committee in charge of loan approval and the concern cooperative society the beneficiary belongs to will act as a guarantor for the loan thereby ensuring its repayment.
Giving kudos to the federal government for initiating the novel programme the Director-General, Akwa–Ibom State Ministry of Commerce and Investment, Oliver Udokpo said such was needed in the state to empower more people and get them out of the poverty level. He called on prospective beneficiaries to apply and accessed the loan and also endeavor to pay back as and when due.
Mr. Udokpo dispels the rumor that the State Government was against the programme because it was the initiative of another political party insisting that poverty and lack do not recognize political parties. According to her “to show that the State government was in total support of the programme, the government of Udom Emmanuel has provided manpower, accommodation, vehicle and state coordination office for the programme”
The Social Investment Programme of the APC led federal government is one of the cardinal programmes of the Muhamadu Buhari administration on which he rode to power two years ago. It is specifically designed to focus on reducing poverty and raising the standard of living of the people. The programme is made up of four components parts. The N-Power job programme for unemployed graduates, and Home Grown Feeding for primary schools.
.Others are Conditional Cash Transfer, the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme GEEP and the Micro Credit Scheme popularly called ‘Market Moni’