,,,,,Selection process transparent, business owners laud Gov. Bello.
By correspondent in Lokoja.
Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has distributed business enhancement tools to over 300 Micro and Small Enterprises (MSMEs) operating in the state in line with his commitment to improving business performance and enhancing viability of MSMEs in the state.
The empowerment, which was executed by the Kogi Enterprise Development Agency (KEDA) in partnership with the World Bank, was done in two batches.
Over 100 MSMEs benefitted on Monday, while more than 200 benefitted in the first batch.
The Managing Director, KEDA, Hajiya Rekiya Onaivo Sanni, said the beneficiaries were selected, out of the 60,000 registrations received by the Agency, following a thorough screening in a bid to meet up with the very high evaluation conditions of partners.
Some of the items given to the MSMEs to enhance their operations included laptops, desktops, tablets, internet devices, POS machines, projectors, printers, android phones and other ICT business enhancing devices.
The KEDA MD explained that the distribution of the equipment, under the Kogi Cares Result Area 3 “and specifically the Delivery Linkage Indicator (DLI) 3.3″, were initially part of the Kogi government’s response to the biting effects of the Covid-19 lockdown period on Micro and Small Enterprises.
She noted that ICT could facilitate connectivity and businesses could also maximise the internet space to conduct their business irrespective of their location and surrounding circumstances, warning that beneficiaries must not dispose of the tools as they had signed a contract in that regard.
Hajia Sanni added that KEDA, under the leadership of Governor Yahaya Bello, had ensured even distribution of the tools across the 21 local government areas of the state.
She assured that the Agency would further expand the scope to capture more beneficiaries in its subsequent programmes.
While clarifying that beneficiaries under the KG Cares DLI 3.3 would not receive cash unlike the DLI 3.1, 3.2, the KEDA MD said that the Agency had received the approval of the World Bank for current beneficiaries to get a scale-up grant to fund their respective businesses, owing to their performances after evaluation by the World Bank.
She clarified that the initiative was not a political empowerment but was borne out of the stern desire of the Kogi State Governor to empower small businesses in the state and create the enabling environment for them to thrive.
Governor Bello, who was represented at the event by the Secretary to the State Dovernment, Dr. Folashade Arike Ayoade, noted that his administration was truly concerned about small business owners in the state and was making every effort to create an enabling environment for them to thrive.
Governor Bello added that the ICT tools distributed to the beneficiaries must be used judiciously to improve their businesses and ultimately contribute to the economic advancement of the state and reduce poverty.
He noted that the state, alongside the partners of KEDA, would jointly ensure robust monitoring of the proper utilisation of the tools distributed, pointing out that the state government would be willing to do more when commendable feedbacks were received.
One of the beneficiaries, Mr. Ali Yakubu Umar, CEO Kakanda TV Prime production, appreciated the kind gesture of the state government.
He said the process, although rigorous, was transparent, adding that the equipment, which he had been given would enhance his business, facilitate efficiency and service delivery.
Another beneficiary, Hajia Maimuna Bashir of NEABS ENTERPRISES, a company dealing in Cement and building materials in Lokoja, in an interview with our correspondent, described the distribution of the ICT tools as a welcome development.
Hajia Maimuna, who was given HP laptop and POS machine said: ” I thank KEDA for the transparency used in the selection process and Kogi state government for this gesture. The ICT tools will go along in boosting my business in many ways.”
Beneficiaries, drawn from the 21 local government areas of the state, attended the event while troupe of the State Council of Arts and Culture thrilled audience with dancing depicting the rich culture tradition of the of the people of the state.