Ekiti, Access bank launches N1bn loan for businesswomen

Ekiti, Access bank launches N1bn loan for businesswomen

Ekiti State Governor, Biodun Oyebanji, has told female business owners that the Ekiti State Government (EKSG)/Access Bank’s N1 billion Loan Initiative shouldn’t be perceived as a share of the “National Cake”.

The governor averred that the soft loan initiative was targeted at stimulating the economy and to fully involve women in the evolving development process.

Oyebanji disclosed that the soft loan initiative was specifically designed to empower the women, create jobs and wealth, banish poverty out of the state as well as buffer the effect of hard biting economy on the populace.

The governor spoke in Ado Ekiti, on Tuesday at the official launch of the EKSG/ Access Bank Women Initiative, a bipartite partnership, where N1 billion soft loan will be given to female traders and business owners.

As a prelude to the Tuesday’s launching, the Deputy Governor, Chief (Mrs) Monisade Afuye, who represented the governor at the flag off, had on Monday led a road walk to all the major markets in Ado Ekiti metropolis to sensitize the business owners on the new initiative.

Addressing the female business owners from the 16 Local Government areas of the state at the event held at Jibowu Hall, Government House in Ado Ekiti, Oyebanji, said the soft loan offers succour to dismantle the barriers being encountered to raise capitals for the growth of businesses.

Oyebanji, who said adequate security was being provided to protect investments in Ekiti, urged the beneficiaries to plough the facility into their businesses to bring a better industrial and entrepreneurial facelift to the state.

The governor added that the ingenious measure was to propel the beneficiaries’ businesses and for them to break even under the current harsh business environment, saying his government had also put adequate security measures in motion to protect investments and businesses in Ekiti.

“This programme is to bridge the gap being experienced in our women having access to loans in Ekiti. I want to appeal to the beneficiaries to make good use of this loan.

“It is a revolving loan and not part of what you can consider as a share of national cake. You have to pay back, so that others who are still yearning for it can also have access. The state government decided to enter into this agreement with Access Bank, so that we can improve on the development of MSMEs in Ekiti”.

Speaking on similar efforts made by his administration to improve the economy, Oyebanji said: “My administration has set up what we called Office of the Ease of Doing Business and also providing functional industrial park , where investors will pay highly subsidized amount to acquire lands to establish their industries. We are also helping local contractors to to get technical partners, machinery and equipment.

“Let me inform you that this is also part of the plans put in place by the government to realise a change in Ekiti State economy from a public sector to a private sector driven economy”, the governor added.

In her contributions, the First Lady, Dr. Olayemi Oyebanji, disclosed that the soft loan offers veritable opportunity to provide robust funding for entrepreneurs, saying every sector of the economy like education, health, industry and others required people taking loans for advancement.

Dr Oyebanji said the success of women in business will have ripple effects that transcend their immediate families in the society and the country at large, lamenting how female owners of MSMEs are being confronted with encumbrances in accessing funds to propel their businesses.

“This is not a national cake, this is your working capital. Taking this loan and pay back will provide opportunity for other women, so don’t default. Don’t forget that you have guarantors and if you default, they are going to be the ones to be held liable”, she warned.

Offering the intending beneficiaries a message of hope, the Commissioner for Trade, Investment, Industry and Cooperatives, Mrs Omotayo Adeola, said access to capitals, had always been the bane of business development in the State, saying this will help in defeating this barrier.

As contained in the partnership arrangement, Adeola said those operating micro businesses can access a sum of N100,000, while the second category can access N500,000, and those operating at Marco level, with Certificates of Incorporation spanning over two years can obtain between One and Two Million Naira.

“The minimum banks can lend to businesses owners is 35%, but this one attracts only 10%; it has been subsidized by the government, so that the repayment can be easier. All over the world, it was recognised that those who have the capitals are true owners of businesses, that is why we are doing this”.

In his submission, the Regional Trade Manager, Access Bank PLC, Mr. Bolaji Aboderin stated that the the partnership was part of the roadmap designed by the financial institution to empower women across the nation being the foundation of the society and dependable weapon of economic development.

Aboderin was emphatic that the collaboration will enhance capacity building, create jobs in micro and macro-economic sectors, stimulate family stability, imbue entrepreneurial spirit and spread the shared prosperity mantra of Oyebanji’s government to the citizens.