February 4, 2020, will be memorable for many indigenes of Rivers State, especially for small-scale Entrepreneurs who benefited from the Micro Enterprise Enhancement Scheme (MEES) of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE). The Honourable Minister for Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, who was the Special Guest of Honour at an event to launch the scheme in Port Harcourt, used the opportunity to stress the need for more empowerment for women, in the ongoing poverty eradication programmes of the Federal Government. In a statement issued, by the Media office of the Minister, Amaechi noted that more women should be considered in the loan program as they are good managers.
Amaechi said: “5000 persons will be given loans without interest. “Between N100,000 to 5 million naira. “What it means is that both male and female will receive this money to do business. “Out of the 5000 people, let’s give 3000 women, because they are good managers. “I didn’t say free loan, I said interest free loan. “It means that you’ll pay back. We must see your business plan or proposal, we must see how it works and know whether we’ll be able to recover the money. “Why we say no interest is so that you’re not put under pressure. “We are grateful to the President, the Honourable Minister of State for Labour, and the DG, NDE. “They have told me how much they are bringing into Rivers State, N750 million naira, anybody who cannot manage it cannot manage anything…It’s the first lesson we should learn, that’s why I said out of the 5000 names, we should look for 3000 women, not because they are women, but because they manage better. “Then there are 30 persons that will be trained per LGA by the NDE and they will be attached to Artisans to work with, and the Federal Government will be paying you directly at the end of the month,” he said.
The Honourable Minister further appealed for an apolitical approach to the loan disbursement. “Let’s involve everybody, don’t do Party, because the President’s intention is not just to lift APC members, but to lift PDP members as well as other Nigerians. Here in Rivers State, there are as many PDP members that are hungry, as there are APC members that are hungry, let’s carry them along,” Amaechi said.
The Chief host of the event and Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo SAN used the event, to restate the commitment of President Buhari in lifting Nigerians out of poverty.
Keyamo said: “This is one of the very many programmes by which the President has given us marching orders to ensure that millions of people are lifted out of poverty every year. In the Federal Executive Council, any memo that comes to FEC, the first question the President asks is how many jobs will this create for Nigerians? That is how concerned the President is about the people. This is the first government in so many years that is so concerned about the people in the lowest rung of the ladder and that is why the President has targeted the very poor of the poor. This is why we are giving out loans for people to start macro, small and medium scale businesses.”
“The Honourable Minister of Transportation insisted that we must come to Rivers State, don’t forget that there are states who have not received, it is the doggedness and tenacity of the Minister that has brought us here today,” Keyamo added.
Also speaking, Director General of the NDE, Dr. Nasir Mohammed Ladan reassured the Rivers State people of the continuity of the empowerment program. “What we are going to do today is only the beginning of what we would do in Rivers State. Our target is 25,000 and we will achieve it,” the DG said.