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July 23, 2024

Governor Radda Unveils ₦5bn Loan Scheme • Channels Television

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Governor Dikko Radda of Katsina State, has launched the ₦5bn Katsina State SME Growth Fund as well as the DIkko Business Development Support (BDS) Corp Intervention Programmes, an initiative aimed at empowering small and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) in the State.

In this intervention programmes, entrepreneurs will be provided with financial resources, business development services, and access to markets.

Governor Radda while launching the program held at the Katsina State Secretariat Conference Hall on Wednesday, emphasised that MSMEs are the backbone of any thriving economy.

He acknowledged the link between economic instability and insecurity, emphasising that creating economic opportunities through upscaling MSMEs will lead to job creation, poverty reduction, and a strengthened local economy.

This, he said will in turn, foster social harmony and reduce criminality by promoting economic inclusivity and bridging the gap between different socio-economic groups.

He, however, highlighted the challenges hitherto faced by the government in coming up with the initiative which include limited access to finance, inadequate business development support, and a lack of tailored support.

He further outlined his administration’s commitment, towards addressing the challenges through the launch of these programs.

The governor commended the leadership and management of the Katsina State Enterprise Development Agency (KASEDA) for their dedication and strong foundation, serving as cornerstone in the state’s efforts to build a sustainable and thriving economic environment.

He explained that several key initiatives are underway to foster a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem in the State which include: conducting an MSME census to gather critical data on the needs and challenges faced by entrepreneurs.

Others include, cluster mapping across the 34 local government areas to identify and support business clusters with high growth potentials as well as formulating an SME Policy in line with the National MSME Policy.

The rest are: launching an Employability Project aimed at enhancing job skills among youths, organising SME Fairs and Clinics to provide a platform for networking, peer review, and interaction with regulatory agencies.

“Recognising the pivotal role of Common Facility Centres to boost production, Governor Radda’s administration has partnered with the Small & Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria to renovate, upscale, equip, and take over the running of the Industrial Development Centre (IDC) located in Katsina.

“State-of-the-art equipment has already been provided in areas like tailoring, garment printing, leather works, packaging machines, and agricultural processing machines.

“The access road and other facilities are being upgraded for an official public commissioning soon.

“Plans are ongoing to extend such common facilities to the remaining two senatorial districts based on cluster mapping reports”, he stated.

He therefore described the Dikko BDS Corp, as an intervention program designed to transform the economic landscape of the State which he said, is expected to provide tailored support and comprehensive business development services to MSMEs, particularly in underserved communities.

“It will also equip entrepreneurs with the tools, knowledge, and resources they need to thrive by assisting them with: advisory services, training, facilitating access to financial resources, access to market, legal and regulatory compliance support.

“A total of 136 BDS Corp volunteers, identified across the 34 LGAs (four per LGA), will be equipped and supported to provide on-the-spot advisory services to nano, micro, small and medium enterprises in their local jurisdictions.

“Drawn from the LGA Council staff, the BDS Corp has been trained and will receive continuous training to handle these new responsibilities. The volunteers will also assist KASEDA with monitoring, evaluating, and sending bi-monthly reports on the performance of the entrepreneurs.

“In the same vein, the second initiative launched is the Katsina State N5 Billion SME Growth Fund, a matching and managed fund collaboration between the Katsina State Government and Bank of Industry (BOI). Dedicated to fostering the growth and development of SMEs by providing essential financial resources and support, the Fund is designed to:

* Provide financial and business development support for SMEs to expand operations, innovate, and compete on a larger scale.

* Stimulate economic development, create jobs, and enhance the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Katsina State.

The contribution structure of the Fund as disclosed by Governor Radda includes, ₦1bn managed fund and ₦2bn matching fund from the Katsina State Government.

“As a pilot, 10 MSMEs with growth potential have already been identified through a proper needs assessment in each of the 34 local government areas of Katsina. These “low hanging fruit” businesses are expected to generate employment and wealth quickly with the injection of funds”, he noted.

The governor emphasised that this is a loan, not a grant, and advised entrepreneurs to use the funds judiciously to expand their businesses.

He highlighted significant interest rate reductions or waivers, with the state covering the cost to ease the burden on entrepreneurs.

To ensure success and repayment, the Dikko BDS Corp will provide comprehensive business development advisory services to loan beneficiaries.

Governor Radda stressed the importance of responsible loan repayment, as the Fund is designed as a revolving fund, stating that, timely repayments will ensure the program’s sustainability and support future entrepreneurs.

In his remarks, the Director-General of SMEDAN, Mr. Charles Odii, acknowledged the vital role of MSMEs in Nigeria’s economy and the challenges they face, particularly access to finance.

He emphasised that the ₦5bn MSME Funds are designed to bridge this gap by providing accessible and affordable financing options tailored to the unique needs of MSMEs in Katsina State.

He called upon government agencies, financial institutions, industry leaders, and the wider community to join SMEDAN in nurturing MSMEs and creating an enabling environment for their success.

“We have recently signed an MOU with the Katsina State Government to the tune of One Billion Naira for the development of SMEs in the state”, Odii stated.

Meanwhile, the beneficiaries drawn from the 361 political wards in the 34 LGAs of the state, sworn to help, run, and expand ethical businesses to tackle the unemployment rate in the state.

Earlier in her welcome address, the Director General of the Katsina State Enterprise Development Agency (KASEDA), Hajiya Aisha Malumfashi announced that, the 5 Billion Naira SMEs fund is designed to provide accessible and affordable financial options tailored to the unique needs of the SMEs irrespective of their nature.

“This initiative is a testament to our commitment to fostering economic growth and development, innovation and sustainability within the SME system which serves as a cornerstone for our economy.

“Today, in Katsina State, we are taking a decisive step towards bridging the gap with the introduction of 5 Billion Naira into the state economy”, Malumfashi revealed

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