By Bukar Bolori
Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum has released a grant worth N814m to a 9,154 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to stimulate local businesses in the state.
The Governor gave the grant on Tuesday at the launch of the “Borno COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus” programme, codenamed “BO-CARES”.
‘BO-CARES’ is Borno State’s domestication of the Federal Government’s ‘NG-CARES’, to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the poor and vulnerable households and small scales enterprises.
BO-CARES, Zulum explained at the launch, hopes to minimize youth restiveness by boosting individual and cooperative businesses operated by youths.
The combined 9,154 beneficiaries were made up of 4, 024 tricycle operators through their Amalgamated Union of NAPEP riders, 3,130 operators of mobile phone repairers and retailers under the Borno State Association of GSM operators and 2,000 tailors from the Borno State Tailoring Association.
Commissioner for Youth Empowerment, Sports Development and Poverty Alleviation, Saina Buba, whose ministry coordinated the exercise, enjoined beneficiaries to put the grant into proper use to enhance their businesses.
Buba noted that Governor Zulum has in three years disbursed 4.2 billion naira to numerous groups to stimulate Borno’s economy.
Managing Director of the Borno State Microfinance Bank, Dr. Bello Ibrahim added that the Zulum administration established an ultra-modern mechanic village to boost MSME’s across Borno State.
In a goodwill message, Bank of Industry’s Project Manager, Ali Mustapha Bello assured that the Bank will provide support to improve local capacity in order to achieve the desired goal of the program.
Before Tuesday’s release of N814m to 9,154 MSME’s, Governor Zulum had approved and disbursed funds for different economic empowerment initiatives.
Last year (2021) 13,500 SMEs were empowered across Biu, Gwoza, Ngala and Jere Local Government Areas with N900 million naira.
Also in same 2021, Zulum disbursed N350m to about 4,250 artisans and traders of different categories and locations within Maiduguri Metropolis and Jere Local Government Area.
The Governor had also distributed 100 brand new Toyota Taxis and 500 KEKE NAPEP at 50% subsidized repayment in Maiduguri and another 40 cars and 40 KEKE NAPEP in Biu.
In 2020, Zulum disbursed N1b to 7,200 SMEs drawn from Maiduguri Monday Market Traders Association, Budum Market Traders Association, Babban Layi Textile Dealers Association, Animal Feeds Sellers Association, Metro Plaza Market Association, Customs Vegetable Dealers Association, MAISANDARI Youth Development Association, Borno State Women Empowerment Association, Barracks Women Traders Association, Borno State Firewood Sellers Association, Baga Road Small Scale Traders and Tashan Bama Tipper Drivers Association.
The occasion was attended by Speaker of Borno State House of Assembly, represented by the Deputy speaker, Engr. Abdullahi Askira, former Deputy Governor, Usman Mamman Durkwa, Member representing MMC at the lower chamber of the national assembly, Abdulkadir Rahis, the State APC Chairman, Ali Bukar Dalori, and the APC senatorial candidate for Borno Central, Kaka Shehu Lawan.
Also at the occasion were commissioners, special advisers and assistants as well party chieftains.