By Idowu Gabriel
No fewer than 80 women who were into various agricultural businesses have benefited from the Federal Government’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) grant, amounting to more than N1.6 million in Ekiti.
Dr Umar Radda, Director-General, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), made this known in Ado-Ekiti on Sunday, during the closing ceremony of training of Women in Self Employment Programme (WISE-P) organised by SMEDAN.
Radda said that the support was part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to raise 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next four years.
Represented by the agency’s Director of Agric-business Development and Extension, Dr Robert Owaiye, the D-G said the training was aimed at enhancing the capacity of the beneficiaries for the development of Nigeria’s economy.
“Globally, MSMEs are recognised as engines of socio-economic transformation because they offer opportunities to drive jobs and create wealth, as well as income redistribution within the society.
“The WISE-P training and empowerment component is one among many initiatives by SMEDAN to meet its mandate.
“The focus is on providing capacity building, including entrepreneurship and vocational training and providing grants for empowerment to existing women agri-preneurs.
“This support will provide them with needed financial enablement to strengthen their businesses and expand to improve profit margin and return on investment.
“This is in line with President Buhari’s vision of raising 100 million people out of poverty over the next four years,” Radda said.
He explained that the beneficiaries have been grouped into seven cooperative societies and supported each group with N230,000.
He urged the beneficiaries to use the money for the purpose it was meant for.
The state Commissioner for Trade and Investments, Mr Muyiwa Olumilua, reiterated the commitment of Gov. Kayode Fayemi led administration to partner with SMEDAN and other agencies to raise the standard of living of the citizenry.
Olumilua, who was represented by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mr Ayomide Adeyanju, said that the state government would continue to empower the people for self-reliance.
Some of the beneficiaries, Mrs Ruth Oladoja and Mrs Omoyeni Palmer, assured SMEDAN and the Ekiti government that they would make the best use of the support to improve their businesses.