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Opinion

Bayelsa Government Empowers 840 SMEs with N168 Million Support Grant

The Bayelsa State Government successfully disbursed a total sum of N168 million as a support grant to 840 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as part of its commendable empowerment program targeting women and youths across the state.

The beneficiaries were each awarded a grant of N200,000, aimed at bolstering their businesses and fostering economic growth within the region. The disbursement comes as a significant step forward in the government’s commitment to encouraging entrepreneurship among the people.

Mrs. Faith Opuene, the Commissioner for Women, Children Affairs, and Empowerment in the state, expressed her enthusiasm about the initiative, stating, “This gesture is driven by the need to inspire and support entrepreneurship among our people. We are delighted to announce that four SME operators, two males, and two females, have been chosen from each of the 105 political wards across all eight local government areas of the state.”

Governor Douye Diri, in a demonstration of his unwavering dedication to uplifting the entrepreneurial community, had approved the increase in the number of beneficiaries from 210 to 420 per month starting January 2023, ensuring that more individuals have access to the much-needed support.

The disbursement, covering the months of January and February, signifies the fulfillment of a pledge by Governor Diri to provide consistent monthly assistance to small business operators until the conclusion of his tenure. This commitment to ongoing support reflects the government’s commitment to fostering prosperity and economic development in the state.

Commissioner Opuene emphasized the responsible utilization of the grant by the recipients, stating, “Please, use this money judiciously to expand your businesses and increase your profit level. Do not touch your capital. I know that you can excel in business.”

To ensure transparency and fairness, the empowerment scheme is being diligently administered by a seven-member committee, which has already put in place robust mechanisms to prevent any beneficiary from drawing multiple payments. Biometric data of the recipients are recorded before disbursement to prevent any form of duplication.

Emmanuel Inipanmo, a fish dealer, conveyed his gratitude on behalf of the beneficiaries, praising the Diri-led administration for the invaluable support provided. He also expressed his optimism about the growth prospects of their businesses, as the grant would enable them to increase their stock levels, leading to higher sales and income.

“In behalf of all the beneficiaries, I want to thank the ‘prosperity government’ of Gov. Douye Diri for this wonderful opportunity for us to expand and grow our businesses,” Inipanmo remarked with appreciation.

The Bayelsa State Government remains committed to promoting entrepreneurship, empowering its citizens, and stimulating economic progress throughout the state. This impactful grant disbursement serves as a testament to the government’s dedication to the welfare and prosperity of its people.

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