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IDPs Seek loans To Expand Businesses

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Inmates of the Internally Displaced Persons’ camp in Abuja have called on the public and private sectors to come to their aid in granting credit facilities to enable them expand the several businesses springing up in the camp.

Speaking with LEADERSHIP in Abuja, the chairman of the Durumi Camp, Ibrahim Ahmadu, said access to loans has been particularly difficult for those in the shelters due to the lack of collateral.

He said: “We want government and financial institutions to extend their credit facilities to those in the camp, since relief materials to the shelters have reduced significantly”.

He also explained that most inmates have had no choice but to take up loans with high interest rates and other unsuitable repayment plans just to get capital for their business.

“Though we have been getting relief materials from donor agencies and well-meaning Nigerians, the truth is that these interventions have considerably dropped, and since we don’t want to become liabilities for our host community, a number of us are now into petty trading to sustain our families.

“However, getting loans or startup businesses has been a difficult task for most of us in the camp, and this is because we do not have the collateral or other requirements needed to get loans from the banks. We will appreciate if a credit facility is set aside for those of us in IDP camps to support and expand our businesses so we no longer have to rely on people to take care of our families.”

He however commended NGOs for providing inmates with equipment like tricycles, sewing and grinding machines to start up business in the camp, the Chairman adding that the unskilled IDPs will still require funds to start their own businesses.

Ahmadu therefore urged the newly established North-East Development Commission to extend its humanitarian and development funds to Boko Haram victims outside the north-east, to enable them start up their lives outside the region.

Business activities were bubbling in most of the settlements our correspondent visited. The inmates at the Durimi camp who are predominantly from Gwoza in Borno state, said they have resorted to the original businesses they were doing in Gwoza before they were sacked by activities of the insurgents.

A noodles vendor, Adamu Bala, said though business has not been as lucrative as it was back in Gwoza, he is able to get by with the little he makes from selling noodles and tea at the camp.

Bala wants govern to support the IDPs with soft loans to enable them expand their business beyond the camp areas.

Mohammed Musa who is a farmer at the camp said getting land for farming has been difficult for them, as land owners charge the IDPs more than they would other residents of Abuja. He wants farm implements like fertilizers subsidised for inmates to make up for the exorbitant prices they pay for land.

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