From Abel Leonard, Lafia

Nasarawa State government says it has earmarked the sum of N500 million, in collaboration with the Bank of Industry, BOI, to be disbursed as loans to indigenes of the state towards boosting micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSME) across the 13 local government areas of the state.

This is even as the state government had earlier approved the sum of N250 million as counterpart funding for the Youth Revolving Funds Scheme while the BOI also contributed the sum of N250 million.

Senior Special Assistant to Governor Abdullahi Sule on Human Capital Development, Habiba Balarabe-Suleiman disclosed this during the screening of the loan applicants in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital.

Habiba said the essence of the approved fund was to provide financial assistance to youths to start up new businesses or expand existing enterprises.

She said: “Today’s screening is part of the process of the N500 million Youth Revolving Funds Scheme. We look at business plans that are found viable and review the amounts requested.

“This is to ensure that we give the loans to deserving applicants who are ready to boost their businesses and pay back the loans at the appropriate time.

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“Over 200 indigenes would benefit from the approved sum in the first phase. The loans would be given to successful applicants immediately after the screening and verification exercises.”

“In the next two to three weeks, we should be able to do our first disbursement. We will give the loans to people who can pay back so that we can also disburse for the second round.

“The beneficiaries are over 200 for each round, and the whole scheme is for five years. So, many people will benefit from the gesture of the state government and the BOI,” she added.

On his part, the Nasarawa State Manager of BOI, Abdullahi Alhaji, stressed that the partnership was to encourage youths in the state towards becoming entrepreneurs and employers of labour.

“The loans will be administered at a single-digit interest rate with a tenor of between three to five years. The beneficiaries will come from the manufacturing and processing; ICT; digital marketing and e-commerce; transportation; creative industry and entertainment; agribusiness; healthcare and fitness sectors, among others.”

Abdullahi, however, expressed gratitude to Governor Abdullahi Sule for prioritizing youth empowerment, while urging the prospective beneficiaries to make judicious use of the funds when considered.

Ibrahim Daniel, a beneficiary, thanked the Nasarawa State government and BOI for the opportunity while promising to make good use of the loan if he is selected for disbursement.