The Kogi State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Hon. Gabriel Olofu gave the charge at a one day stakeholder meeting on promotion of Sustainable income Generating Activities through Identification, profiling and matching funding sources, approaches and opportunities in financial institutions, disclosed that ongoing survival funds is geared towards empowering businesses.
The workshop was organized by the National Initiatives for Sustainable and Climate Smart Oil Palm Smallholders ( NI-SCOPS ), in Partnership with Solidaridad, a Coalition of NGOs; Youth and Women Health Empowerment Project, DEGENDER, Interlect and Participation Initiative For Behavioural Change in Developement.
The Commissioner added that the CARES Program of the present administration in the state has been put in place to grant loans and SMEs, urged businesses to take the advantage of the facility towards improving there businesses.
He added that as part of the measures put in place post covid19. Hon. Olofu said Government intervention through the Payroll Support, CAC Registration, MSME Support and Business Plan Support that enables SMEs access between N100, 000 to N150000 for Businesses, are available for the citizens, called on the people to take the advantage to grow palm oil production and other businesses.
In his remarks, Hassan D. Hassan, Developement Finance Officer of CBN, Kogi State Branch, said beyond the Covid19 Induced interventions, said the CBN has put in place other developement based intervention, said with convincing and workable business plan, the CBN has several interest free loan to boost economy.
Mr. Hassan described SMEs as drivers of the economy, however lamented that finance has been a challenge to Smallholder Businesses, said the CBN is concerned about the developement aspect of lending as against other financial Institutions who are more concerned about profit.
The DFO explained that 99% of Businesses in the country have largely operated as informal business, urged the private sector to brace up with the challenge by not remaining as Micro, but think about expansion schemes for formal businesses that can access support from CBN.
In her paper presentation titled: Linkages Establishment for Value Chain Based /Alternate Funding Access by Women and Youth, Rekiya Onaivo Sanni, Managing Director/CEO Kogi Enterprise Developement Agency, described Oil Palm Production as lucrative, lamented that the attitude to managing oil palm production value chain has not been given attention post discovery of Petroleum.
Mrs Sanni called for adequate sensitization that would help expose the benefits inherent in oil palm production and extraction, said women and youths have alot of role to play in oil palm production, called for an easy means to accessing seedlings and fertilizers by farmers, urged for entrepreneurs to look for opportunities in the challenge of oil palm production to make a success of the business.
The resource person described the value chain available in oil palm production as a reliable tool for stimulating the economy, urged women and youths to take the many advantage in oil palm production by approaching funding Institutions for support.
In a welcome remarks, Comr Rahjaun Suleiman said the workshop aimes at exposing women and Youths in particular on how to promote Sustainable income Generating Activities through Identification, profiling and matching funding sources, approaches and opportunities in financial institutions using the Oil Palm Production.
Also Speaking, Halimat Sadiq a co- Partner said place of women in nation building cannot be overemphasized, as such the workshop aims at looking at women and how to expose them to sources and how to manage the funds as it relates to Palm Oil production.
Also making his contributions, Mr James Odiba, another co partner in the project said the opportunities available for citizens to be empowered remains vast, said the workshop aims at exposing women and youths to opportunities in palm oil production, as it relates to funding and managing the production.