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Bayelsa Govt disburses N126m grant to 630 SME operators – From Kinsley Okorie/Yenagoa

Gov. Douye Diri – Expanding the frontiers of small business operators

The Bayelsa State government on Monday disbursed a cash grant of N126 million to 630 small business operators as part of its empowerment programme for women and youths across the state.

Each of the beneficiaries got a cash grant of N200,000

Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Mrs. Faith Opuene, Bayelsa Commissioner for Women, Children Affairs and Empowerment, said the gesture was borne out of the need to encourage entrepreneurship amongst the people.

She noted that the small and medium scale businesses were dominated by non-Indigenes and hence the step to assist small business owners who hail from Bayelsa to grow and expand their existing businesses.

She explained that the beneficiaries comprised of two persons, a man and a woman from each of the 105 political wards from the eight local government areas of Bayelsa.

According to her, the cash disbursement was for the months of March , April and May 2022, adding that the gesture was a fulfillment of a pledge by Gov Douye Diri, to support 210 small business operators monthly to the end of his tenure.

“The economy of our state is not within our reach, that is because ours is a civil service state and the small and medium enterprises space is dominated  by people from outside Bayelsa who drive our economy.

“As part of efforts to encourage entrepreneurship amongst Bayelsa people, our Miracle Governor approved the empowerment of one man, one woman from each of the 105 wards as part of efforts to spread prosperity amongst the people.

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“Gov Diri had in the second anniversary celebration in February 2022 directed that for the remaining part of his tenure 210 persons who are running small businesses should be supported with a cash grant of N200,000 each,” Opuene said.

She further explained that the empowerment scheme is administered by a seven member committee, which has put in place, a mechanism to ensure that no beneficiary draws the cash more than once.

She said that the biometrics of the beneficiaries were being taken before the disbursement to check multiple payments and advised the beneficiaries to deploy the funds into their businesses.

She said that there were plans to monitor the performance of the beneficiaries and further support the businesses in their various phases of development ,adding that only those who grow their businesses will benefit from such future plans.

Mr Tonbra Etiti, a physically challenged beneficiary who spoke to journalists said that the grant would be injected in his vegetable and food items trade as well as expand his wife’s provision store business.

He applauded the state government for the support to small scale businesses and urged the government to sustain the programme

Also Mrs Ibomotimi Wapamo, who sells Madiga, a snack from bye product from bread bakeries, said the grant was a lifeline to her business and that she would expand into other pastries with the capital.

She said that this was her first time of benefiting from government empowerment scheme and expressed gratitude to the state government for the grant



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