CBN releases N1bn SMEs fund to Niger State govt

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has released N1billion Naira Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF) to Niger State Government, in North-Central Nigeria.

Alhaji Mudi Muhammad, Niger State Commissioner for Commerce and Investment, who disclosed this at a press briefing in Minna on Monday, said the fund was the second tranche.

Muhammad explained that the fund was part of the Federal Government’s efforts to create jobs for youths and women as well as alleviate poverty in the country.

“This fund is the effort of the Federal Government to create job opportunities for women, youths and vulnerable Nigerians.

“The disbursement of the first tranche is still ongoing and the CBN has recorded the state as the most successful, as the fund has been given to the actual beneficiaries.

“The programme is targeted at employing 11,578 people, creating 3,000 jobs and covering over 20,000 indigent youths,”  he explained.

Also, Alhaji Farouk Audi, Director-General of the state’s MSMEDF, said the programme was initiated in 2013 by the Federal Government through the CBN, which earmarked N220 billion for states to access a maximum of    N2 billion.

“The programme is to reach out to nine million Nigerians in five years to create job opportunities. It targets 60 percent women and 40 percent youths and the vulnerable in the state.

“The fund is channeled through financial institutions: collected by four commercial banks and disbursed by 14 micro finance banks.

“The loan is for those who are into businesses such as: agriculture value chain, artisans, cottage industries, cooperative societies and start up,”  he explained.

The Director-General of the state’s MSMEDF said the interest rate for the loan was 9 percent, and that 2 percent of the N2 billion had been set aside for the physically challenged persons to access.

The State Government had on March 19, disbursed the first tranche of N1billion to some beneficiaries.

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