Niger State commissioner for Commerce and Investment, Hon Mudi Mohammed, has disclosed that no fewer than 11,578 women and youths in the state have benefited from the Central Bank of Nigeria N2 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund to the state.
Hon Mohammed told journalists yesterday that 3,261 direct new jobs have been created with a multiplier effect reaching over 200,000 the people of the state through the scheme.
According to him, the state had assessed the first trench of N1 billion in March and that the second trench of N1 billion is currently on the verge of being disbursed to beneficiaries.
He disclosed that the CBN SME fund is meant to create wealth, job and alleviate poverty but explained that that the fund is a loan and not a grant, adding that the government has adopt measures to avoid challenges often faced in repayment of such loans by beneficiaries .
The director general of the Small Medium Enterprises Agency Farouk Umar Audi also explained that 60 per cent of the fund is targeted at women while N40 million was earmarked for the physically challenged.
While saying that out of the N40 million earmarked only N32 million has been accessed from the fund set aside for the physically challenged, he said the beneficiaries from the micro businesses were given 12 months repayment plan.
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