Port Harcourt – The Federal Government on Tuesday commenced the disbursement of interest-free loans to 828 entrepreneurs under the Government and Empowerment Programme 2.0 scheme, GEEP 2.0, in Bayelsa State.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Farouq, who performed the official flag-off of the GEEP 2.0 scheme with beneficiaries in Yenagoa, said each beneficiary was entitled to between N50,000 and N300,000 soft loans with no collateral to develop and expand their businesses.
Farouq explained that although 8,762 persons applied for loan, only 828 met the criteria and were shortlisted to receive the loan targeted at low-income earners engaged in sundry economic activities across the eight local government areas in the state.
According to her, the Federal Government had since 2016 initiated several social intervention programmes to bring succour and relief to the poor and vulnerable in its policy of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030.
“l wish to further inform that l and my team are in Bayelsa State today to also carry out the roll-out of the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme
“GEEP is a programme designed by President Muhammadu Buhari administration for vulnerable and low-income Nigerians who are involved in some sort of commercial activity/capacity but have never had the opportunity to access loans.
“It is meant to give priority to the most vulnerable in our society, eg widows, youth, disabled and the displaced, amongst others,” she said.
The minister urged the beneficiaries to take additional loans after the repayment of the ones they have collected and advised them to use the funds in a prudent manner.
Responding on behalf of the beneficiaries, the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Women, Children’s Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Faith Opuene, thanked the federal government for the initiative and urged the people to key into the programme.
Opuene, however, expressed regret that only about 10 percent of the applicants for the loan were selected, emphasising on the need to sensitise the people of Bayelsa State on the social intervention programmes of the federal government to increase the number of beneficiaries.
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