The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said the government will give priority to female entrepreneurs and persons living with disabilities in the disbursement of Micro Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) development fund.
Obaseki disclosed this while inaugurating the MSME Advisory Committee, led by Peter Obaseki at the Government House in Benin City.
Other members of the committee include Mr. Joseph Eboigbe, Mrs. Ukinebo Dare and Mr. Philip Edigin.
The governor noted: “As you are aware, I have raised N2bn in partnership with the Bank of Industry and we also have N2bn raised by the Central Bank of Nigeria several years ago.
“We understand the impact of these sets of funds for small businesses, but we are now in the position, having completed our ‘Data to Mega’ enumeration, to see where these small businesses exist, what they are doing, the challenges they face and how to help them grow.”
He continued: “You will advise me on how we can deliberately channel these credits to prioritise businesses of women entrepreneurs, such that a minimum of 60 per cent of the loans go to supporting female businesses because as a state, we want to make sure that we balance gender inclusiveness and inequality.
“We are going to be relying on you to also use the advantage of the access to these funds to help us drive financial literacy, organise sessions and workshops, and give us a commission on what we can do so that we can foster financial literacy and entrepreneurship skills among these small, micro and medium businesses.”
The governor added: “We are also going to be relying on you to ensure that these funds help take care of people with special needs; people with disabilities in the state that are struggling. 10 per cent of the funds should be used in supporting people with disabilities doing business.
“We expect to target about 50,000 beneficiaries and also to help mentor at least 500 small businesses. We hope that you help us build robust relationships with other local partners who have similar resources available to fund small and medium enterprises.”