Consequent upon the austerity measures recently announced by the government at the centre to cushion the effect of the falling oil prices at the international market, some palliatives measures may have been worked out by some state governments to ameliorate its effect at the grassroots level.
A total of N4billion was provided by the Governor Rauf Aregbesola-led administration to cooperative groups, market women and men, those engaged in trading and commerce, spare-part dealers, farmers and operators of commercial motorcycles as well as physically challenged people.Having realised the fact that the falling oil prices and the impact on the economy can only be addressed through empowerment of micro, small and medium enterprises and cooperative groups,the Osun State Government has facilitated an interest free credit to more than 10,000 people in the state.
The state government also distributed 22 brand new mini buses to members of cooperative transporters’ association and Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) in the state. It had in the first batch of the exercise distributed 40 mini buses to members of the associations to ease their transportation businesses.
Under the scheme, a sum of N2billion was access by the government under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (CBN-MSMEDF) to assist people with genuine businesses unfettered access to this credit facility for the operation of their business outfits.
Speaking at the disbursement ceremony of the N2billion accessed by the state under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) N220billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund, the State Commissioner for Commerce, Cooperatives, Investments Industries and Empowerment, Mr. Ismaila Adekunle Alagbada lauded the current administration in the state headed by Rauf Aregbesola for the gesture saying that
Aregbesola has kept his electoral promises made to the people through this second tier of his administration’s empowerment programmes.
Alagbada said the second promise of distribution of 22 mini buses to transporters is a promise fulfilled.
According to him, “this event is indeed a ceremony of promise fulfilment by the people’s governor in whom the people have implicit confidence.
“The entire landscape of Osun is dotted with innumerable landmarks which bear clear testimony to the sagacity, dedication, commitment and progressive mindedness of our virtuous and passionate governor.
In his remarks, the State Commissioner for Finance, Budget and Economic Planning, Dr. Wale Bolorunduro, hinted that Osun was the first state in Nigeria to benefit a sum of N2billion for the CBN to improve micro, small and medium enterprises, affirming the money was a product of financial engineering of the current administration in the state.
He maintained that 50 per cent of the money is expected to be used for agriculture and commerce.
Bolorunduro assured that the loan would be judiciously used by the beneficiaries in such a way that the loans would multiply in numerous folds.
According to him, “Osun is the first state to have assessed and secured the N2bn loan for Central Bank of Nigeria for the purpose of development.
“The state arrived at this financial opportunity through a careful and prudent financial engineering of the state governor in the last four years.
“This judicious use has helped the state a great deal in the developmental projects and programmes of the administration.
“We hope to focus more on agriculture and commerce in the state for further growth and development,” Bolorunduro said.
The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Mr. Godwin Emefiele who was represented at the event by his Special Adviser on Development and Finance, Mr. Paul Nduka Eluowe said the people-focused programmes and policies of the Rauf Aregbesola administration since inception have established him as “the strongman of Osun politics’.
Emefiele while affirming the belief that the polices of the administration under Aregbesola had raised the state to a higher pedestal, noted that the scheme is a partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under the Bank’s N220 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund, the N2billion secured by Osun is already being disbursed.?
Elumelu said that Small and Medium Scale Enterprises are essential ingredients of growth for any serious developing country.
He commended Osun Governor for formulating policies and programmes that have economically and financially empowered the people of the state.
The CBN boss charged the governor to ensure that 60 percent of the N2billion given to the state should go to women and 2 percent to physically challenged people in the state.
He said: “I am overwhelmed by the numbers of people present at today’s event. It shows that you are the strong man of Osun politics.
“Your programmes have shown that you are loved by your people with this massive attendance. I hope you will continue to be the strongman of Osun.
“I am not surprised that the majority of the people in attendance are women which the CBN beliefs that women are supposed to be empowered to unleash their potentials.
While flagging-off the distribution of the credit facilities and mini buses, Governor Rauf Aregbesola, in his address titled “Marching onto Greater Development Heights”, said his determination to drive the state to a prosperous height was borne? out of genuine commitment to take Osun to the height of socio-economic and industrial development.
Aregbesola held that his administration is conscious of the fact that the success of any development enterprise was dependent upon the active involvement and participation of the people.
He pointed out that Osun, with carefully thought-out policies, programmes, conscious mobilisation and proper organisation of the people nothing can stand in the way of its development.
The governor added that the most effective ways of making people the driving agents of development is to economically and financially empower them, and then allow them to handle the rest.
According to Aregbesola “we thus decided to come up with various economic empowerment schemes in order to give our people the economic wherewithal and the financial enablement to make them job-creators and wealth generators in a manner that will be beneficial to all and sundry.
“In order for the programmes to have the widest coverage for maximum outcomes, we have decided to spread the net to include the people in the lower rung of the socio-economic ladder – the small traders, the market women, the artisans, the transporters, the small-holder farmer, and the craftsmen and women among others.
“It is for this reason that we have established the Osun Micro-Credit Agency which was officially inaugurated on July 9, 2014.
“It was aimed at ensuring easy access to credit facilities by operators of micro, small and medium scale enterprises, particularly those in the informal sector of Osun economy”.
He reassured the residents of the state that his second term in office will witness greater and monumental achievements in spite of the current national economic challenges facing the country.
Aregbesola said that his administration was more resolute and deeply determined to keep the economic ship of the state afloat against all odds.
While noting that the task to move the state forward on all fronts is duty for all the residents, Governor Aregbesola maintained that his government has play its role in prudent management of the meagre resources accruing to the state adding that the residents must equally display their patriotism by willingly discharging their civic responsibilities without hindrance.
Aregbesola charged the people of the state to be fully dedicated to the course his administration has charted to make the state the pride of all.