By Ayo Fadimu
No fewer than 80 women agri-preneurs in Ekiti have benefited from a N1.6 million grant provided under the Federal Government’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise’s grant, as part of its vision of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.
The Director General, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria, (SMEDAN), Dr. Umar Radda restated the commitment of the present administration to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next four years.
Radda, who was speaking on Sunday at the closing ceremony of the training of participants of the SMEDAN’s Women in Self Employment Programme, (WISE-P) in Ado-Ekiti, said that the training was aimed at raising the capacity of the participants to enable them utilize the funds effectively.
The DG of SMEDAN, who was represented by the agency’s Director of Agric-business Development and Extension, Dr Robert Owaiye, noted that globally, MSMEs are recognized as engines of socio-economic transformation, as they offered opportunities to drive jobs and wealth creation, as well as income re-distribution within the society.
“The WISE-P training and empowerment component is one the instruments available to SMEDAN to meet its mandate.
“ The focus is on providing capacity building, (inclusive of entrepreneurship and vocational training) with associated empowerment grants to existing women agri-preneurs.
“This will procure for them the required mindset and financial enablement, as well as place their businesses on the needed sound footing for impact in terms of pride, profit and diversification.
“ This is part of President Buhari’s vision of raising 100 million persons out of poverty over the next four years, “ Radda said.
Our Correspondent reports that the DG, who explained that beneficiaries had been grouped into seven cooperative societies, with a grant of N230,000 each, urged beneficiaries to use the money judiciously.
Also speaking, the Ekiti state Commissioner for Trade and Investments, Chief Muyiwa Olumilua, reiterated the commitment of the state governor Kayode Fayemi to partner with SMEDAN and other agencies, to raise the standards of living of the citizens.
Participants at the training, Mrs Ruth Oladoja and Mrs Omoyeni Palmer, who spoke separately with journalists, assured of equitable distribution and judicious use of the grants in order to contribute their own quota to the development of the economy.
Present at the occasion were the representative of NIRSAL Micro Finance Bank in Ekiti, Mr Dele Ayobami, and the SMEDAN Manager in Ekiti. Mr Ayomide Ilesanmi.