Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan has declared in Asaba on Monday that contrary to the perception of a segment of the nation, President Goodluck Jonathan was working quietly to develop the country.
Governor Uduaghan who spoke at the official roll out of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) N2 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMED) in Delta State, explained that President Jonathan has done a lot in the implementation of his transformation agenda for the nation.
“I want to thank you, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria and through you, I want to thank Mr. President because if Mr. President does not allow you to do what you are doing now, you will not be able to do it, so, I want to thank President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who is quietly developing Nigeria, I thank him,” Governor Uduaghan said.
Dr. Uduaghan receiving the symbolic N2 billion cheque from the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele said that the Delta State Government would give out the loan at zero interest by paying off the 9 per cent interest of N180 million on behalf of the beneficiaries as well as bear the cost of logistics in the disbursement of the fund.
“I want to commend you (CBN Governor) for the support you have given to the state, you are here to roll out MSMED fund which is the brain-child of your leadership in the CBN,” the Governor said, emphasizing, “the fund is not being rolled out because you are from the state, it is being done because Delta State has prepared for the fund. We have worked hard to meet the criteria for the fund; you can recall that at the launching of this fund in August by President Goodluck Jonathan, Delta State was one of the two states that qualified for the fund.
“I want to assure the CBN that the fund will go to the real beneficiaries, you don’t need to be a politician to get the fund, you must meet the criteria before benefiting from it, I want to say that the whole N2 billion will go to the beneficiaries as the state government will provide the logistics needed, this loan will be at zero interest rates to Deltans as the state government will pay the 9 per cent interest on the loan which amounts to N180 million to the Central Bank of Nigeria,” he said.
The governor explained that the Delta State Government in designing its micro credit programme has “been cautiously and consciously biased towards the pro-poor in our execution of our programme, we have laid emphasis in the areas of education, health, water supply, transportation which benefits the pro-poor, those people at the bottom of the pyramid, we ensure that we can touch these set of people, that is why this type of programme gladdens my heart,” he said.
He charged old participants in the programme to put their experience at the disposal of new entrants by mentoring them to ensure that they pay back as at when due so that the programme does not suffer set back.
The CBN Governor, Mr Emefiele explained that the apex bank initiated the N220 billion MSMED fund as “a catalyst to stimulate economic growth and poverty alleviation in Nigeria, the fund couldn’t have come out at a better time than now where there is fall in price of oil.
“It will be a means of diversifying our economic base through production of goods locally and reduce the pressure on our foreign reserve,” adding that the fund has been structured to be accessed by those who really needed them the most rather than those who were privileged politically.
He commended Governor Uduaghan’s administration for designing a robust micro credit programme that has imparted greatly on the less endowed segment of the society, “it is no mean feat to set up a Ministry to alleviate our people from poverty into prosperity, I took note of some of the things produced by the beneficiaries of the micro-credit programme, from the young graduates to the elderly, it tells that when you are faced with challenges, you turn to your creative ability to create development for yourself and your country, I salute you (Governor Uduaghan).”
“The Ministry of Poverty Alleviation have done what the CBN want to do, working with people, banks and granting loans to ensure economic growth and diversification,” he added.
High point of the occasion was the presentation of N2 billion cheque to the Governor of Delta State, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan and the presentation of certificates to beneficiaries of the MSMED fund.