The Bayelsa Government on Monday disbursed a cash grant of N84 million to 420 Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) operators who are indigenes of the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that each of the beneficiaries got a cash grant of N200, 000.The disbursements were for the months of June and July.
Speaking at the presentation, Mrs Faith Opuene, Bayelsa, Commissioner for Women, Children Affairs and Empowerment, said the gesture was borne out of the need to encourage entrepreneurship amongst the people.
She said that it was part of government’s empowerment programme for women and youths across the state.
Opuene said the SMEs were dominated by non-indigenes, hence the need to assist small business owners who hailed from the state 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.
She added that the gesture was in fulfillment of a pledge by Gov. Douye Diri to support 210 small business operators monthly until the end of his tenure.
“The economy of our state is not within our reach; because ours is a civil service state and the SMEs space is dominated by people from outside Bayelsa who drive our economy.
She explained that the empowerment scheme was done by a seven-member committee, put in place to ensure that no beneficiary draws the cash more than once.
Opuene said that the biometrics of the beneficiaries were taken before the disbursement to check multiple payments.
She advised the beneficiaries to deploy the funds into their businesses, adding that there were plans to monitor their performance.
The commissioner said that only those who grew their businesses would benefit from such future plans.
Mrs Joye Newman, a petty trader from Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa applauded the governor for the gesture.
She advised would be beneficiaries to have faith in the administration and wait for their due dates to benefit from the empowerment.
NAN reports that a total of 1,260 beneficiaries drawn from the 105 wards across eight local government areas have so far benefited from the scheme which commenced in February.