Niger: The State to Increase Microfinance Banks, Create Employment
Abuja, Nigeria, May, 14 2010 -
In line with the government's determined efforts to empower the teeming youth and women, Niger State will facilitate the establishment of 18 microfinance banks across local government areas of the state.
This was made known by the D.G, Niger State SME's and Microfinance Agency (NSSMA), Alhaji Muhammad Alibaba, who keyed in on one of the major challenges of SMEs, being finance. He said that the 18 LGs had expended over N260 million in building or renovating befitting banking offices for the upcoming MFBs and given it to promoters as grant-in-kind or long term lease. ''This will increase the number of MFBs from 11 to 31 by the middle of the year, thereby creating employment for 300-500 graduates and other school leavers in the state,'' he said.
Alibaba revealed that over N1.5 billion has been disbursed through which a N30 million interest- free facility was granted 18 microcredit cooperatives and interested promoters in 18 LG councils as seed capital, payment for consultancy services for the incorporation and payment for banking licences fees, as well as intensive advocacy and sensitisation of the citizenry across the state.
He also said that since its inception the chief servant of Niger State, Dr. Babangida Aliyu in collaboration with the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Abuja, had undertaken the training of 450 entrepreneurs in various areas of vocational skills. ''We are presently training another batch of about 1,500 youths in different areas under the auspices of the newly established Ministry of Youth Affairs and Strategy. “Beneficiaries will also be linked with microfinance banks for sustainability, while the state government would facilitate access to required seed capital.'' He also added that apart from constructing a Business Support Centre (BSC) within the premises of the Trade Fair Complex, there is the Niger State government and CBN joint committee that has been put in place to work out modalities for the citing of Entrepreneurship Development Centre (EDC) in Minna, in line with the CBN EDC template established in Kano, Onitsha and Lagos.
He said that a committee would also be set up with the mandate of checking the operations of these microfinance banks, while advising that all LGs in other states should also emulate the initiative.