The Bayelsa Government on Wednesday restated its commitment to its policy of encouraging growth and expansion of Small- and Medium-Enterprises (SMEs) across the state.
Mr Ayiba Duba, Commissioner for Information, Orientation and Strategy, gave the assurance while speaking at the monthly disbursement of cash grant of N 42 million to 210 SMEs from the state.
Duba said that the state is looking forward to the growth of the state’s economy which hitherto revolved around civil service through entrepreneurship promotion.
He said that the state has continued to keep the pledge made by the Gov Douye Diri-led administration to engender prosperity by empowerment of two persons per ward every month for the past 10 months.
The Newsmen reports that each of the beneficiaries comprising one woman and one youth each from the 105 wards in Bayelsa, got a cash grant of N200,000.
The disbursement was for the month of November 2022.
Also speaking at the presentation ceremony, Mrs Faith Opuene, Bayelsa Commissioner for Women, Children Affairs and Empowerment, urged the beneficiaries to resist the urge to spend the grant on festivities during the yuletide.
According to the commissioner, the fund is meant to strengthen the capital base of their businesses for growth and expansion.
She explained that the empowerment scheme was done by a seven-member committee, which had been put in place, a mechanism to ensure that no beneficiary draws the cash more than once.
She said there were plans to monitor the performance of beneficiaries and further support their businesses in various phases of development, adding that only those who grow their businesses would benefit from such future plans.
Mrs Susan Saighe-Igbe, one of the beneficiaries who deals on clothes, applauded the state government for supporting small businesses in dire need of additional capital following the recent flood that crippled most businesses in the state.
She noted that the additional capital into her business which started in 2013 will quicken the growth of her operations in the festive season.
“This grant is very timely, it is a lifeline to many small businesses crumbled by the flood. For me, it will enable me to boost my stock and cope with seasonal demands during the festive season,” Saigh-Igbe said.
Newsmen learnt that a total of 2,100 beneficiaries spread across the 105 wards from eight local government areas have so far benefited from the scheme which commenced in February, 2022.