Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State on Friday said the state government had so far disbursed N835 million to more than 600 entrepreneurship and cooperatives groups through the Delta State Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency since the commencement of his administration.
Mr Okowa, who came into office in May 2015, stated this in Asaba, the state capital while presenting cash and equipment to more than 900 farmers across the state, to enable them start and expand their farming ventures.
Apart from the farmers, hundreds of artisans comprising commercial motorcycle operators as well as butchers also received loans to boost their businesses in the state.
The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Kingsley Otuaro, said the gesture was part of the agricultural reform and accelerated industrialisation programmes of the state.
Mr Okowa said his administration would continue to enhance the economic profile of residents of the state by ensuring their business enterprises are sustained.
He said the gesture would go a long way in boosting the job and wealth creation project of the state.
“To diversify our economy and reduce dependence on the proceeds from oil, this administration has put up programmes and policies which would pave way for better employment opportunities.
“It is noteworthy that this administration has made giant strides in the area of job and wealth creation through its entrepreneurship programmes, which are encapsulated in the SMART agenda.
“The Delta State Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency was created to coordinate, promote and facilitate financing of agricultural and allied products for micro, small and medium enterprises.
“The Agency, since the inception of this administration, empowered 600 entrepreneurship groups and cooperatives across the 25 Local Government Areas of the state to the tune of N835, 700,000.
“Youths, farmers, market men and women are beneficiaries of these various schemes,’’ Mr Okowa said.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary, State Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency, Shimite Bello, thanked the governor for the gesture and charged beneficiaries to put the money and equipment into good use.
Responding on behalf of the beneficiaries, the State Chairman of Tricycle and Motorcycle Riders Association, Obi Eze, thanked the state government for the gesture and promised to put the loans and equipment to good use.