18 cooperatives across six states have received N4 million loan each to boost their businesses. The disbursement is under the One Local Government, One Product (OLOP) initiative of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN).
At the tripartite Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signing with disbursement managers, Microfinance Banks (MFBs) and the cooperatives in Abuja, yesterday, the Director General of SMEDAN, Dr Umaru Dikko Radda, said the loan was interest free.
“They are to pay back the loan after 18 months after a moratorium of six months. And they are paying only 70% of what we gave them. Thirty per cent is part of government’s efforts to help the small businesses to develop to a higher capacity. It is part of the governments initiative through SMEDAN to provide a relief of 30% of the loan to the beneficiaries,” Radda said.
He said with this disbursement, the OLOP programme would have reached the 109 senatorial districts in Nigeria, adding that its target is to reach the 774 local government areas of the federation by year 2020.
Representative of Amuyo Co-operative from Kwara State, Mrs Funke Ojomu, expressed their delight over the gesture.
“They have given us N4 million. The money is going to be used to develop our projects. We want to use the money to buy the equipment to make semovita and Poundo yam. We were doing it small scale before but as they empower us now, we will buy the equipment and the raw materiels and we will do it in a large scale,” Ojomu said
The representative of the Microfinance banks and MD of Mwaghavul Microfinance Bank Ltd in Plateau State, Mr Simon Lawan, said the initiative has opened more doors to the banks and helped to widen their customer base.
The OLOP programme is the initiative of the agency in which each local government identifies a valuable local resource in which it has competitive and comparative advantage and SMEDAN helps to develop it.