Akwa Ibom Gov Eno Approves N1.5bn Interest Free Loan Scheme For Traders

Governor of Akwa Ibom State, pastor Umo Eno on Wednesday approved N1.5 billion for the take off of an interest free revolving loan scheme to assist traders in the state to boost their businesses as part of measures to address the rising cost of food items.

He has also announced the take-off of Farmers -with -Swags initiative for Students as part of the Back to Farm Initiative.

Eno made this known on yesterday in Uyo at the fagg off of the Food Security programme of the State Bulk Purchase Agency with the presentation of food vouchers to vulnerable members of the society.

Under the scheme, N500 million is earmarked for traders in each of the three senatorial districts of the State.

The Governor who tagged the scheme, ARISE Free Food, emphasized his administration’s commitment to the wellbeing of the downtrodden, said he will continue to develop policies geared at lifting the poor from a state of despair.

He announced the appointment of three Senior Special Assistants to the Governor on Traders Matters to cover the three senatorial districts of the State, and ten special assistants on traders matters to cover the ten federal constituencies of the State.

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Eno said the traders’ credit facilities, would be made available to the traders through the State owned, Ibom Fadama Micro Finance Bank and urged the traders to open accounts in the bank.

The Governor said the Bulk Purchase Agency, the anchor vehicle of the scheme, which was recently inaugurated, was meant to work towards crashing and stabilizing the price of food in the State.

He charged the personal aides to ensure transparency and accountability in the process and announced plans to set up an Agriculture Committee to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the programme across the State.

“Let no one make any mistake that these vouchers can be replicated. You will not be able to fake this one because these vouchers are printed by the Nigeria Printing and Minting Company and if we catch you, it is an offence.

“So when they give you the voucher then they will give you the food. Garri will be 5kg, rice 5kg, and beans 5kg.

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“There is no guarantee that one person will have more than one voucher. So whatever voucher you have, take it to the market and a scale will be used by the agent at the redemption center to measure the food to you.

“For those who want to be part of the scheme, it is a business and all measurements must be done with scales and not cups. If you do not have a scale, you are not qualified.”

The Governor warned his personal aides drawn from all the 368 wards to ensure that only people who are in the social registers, are given the food vouchers.

He said the Bulk Purchase Agency will be on hand to offtake crops harvested by farmers in the State at favourable costs to all famers and encouraged everyone to take advantage of this offer to embrace farming.

On the request from the Itam market traders, the Governor approved immediate execution of internal roads, drainages, borehole water and modern toilet facilities and solar street lights at the market, and warned that once in place, Government would no longer condone street trading by traders.

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Earlier, the Chairman of Bulk Purchase Agency, Dr. Dan Akpan, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Offiong Offor, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Traders Matters, Mr Idorenyin Raphael and representative of traders, Godwin Ebong lauded the Governor for embarking on the scheme and pledged their resolve to ensure they worked hard for the success of the food intervention programme.

Highpoints of the ceremony, were the presentation of food vouchers to some vulnerable persons from Itu Local Council while other local government areas in the State are expected to carry out their flagoff next Tuesday.