Ogbomoso (Oyo State), Feb. 7, 2024: The Director-General, Oyo State Investment and Public Partnership Agency (OYSIPA), Mr Olatilewa Folami, says 2,100 people have so far benefited from the state government’s N500 million loan facility.
Folami disclosed this on Tuesday in Ogbomoso during a monitoring and evaluation tour of designated micro-finance banks in charge of the loan disbursement.
The loan facility was set aside for Small and Micro Enterprises (SMEs).
Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo State had on Aug. 5 announced the short-term plans of his administration to mitigate the effects of the fuel subsidy removal on the state’s residents.
The short-term plan was tagged the Sustainable Actions for Economic Recovery (SAfER).
The governor had said this would target the poorest of the poor and the vulnerable and ensure a softer landing for them.
Provision of the N500 million low interest rate loans for Small and Micro Enterprises (SMEs) is one of the SAfER packages outlined by the governor.
The beneficiaries of the loan, which included traders, artisans and other small business operators in the state, accessed it through seven selected micro-finance banks across the six geo-political zones.
The disbursement of the loan facility commenced in October 2023.
This necessitated the monitoring and evaluation exercise embarked upon by the agency and sub-committee chairman of SAfER, Prof Musibau Babatunde, to assess how the beneficiaries utilised the money.
The OYSIPA DG said the agency’s focus was the execution of the N500 million dedicated to SMEs under the SAfER programme.
He added that the agency was really targeting the grassroots of the business economy.
Folami said about 5,000 applications were received from the public, out of which 2,100 applicants who qualified for the credit facility accessed it.
He said the expectation of government was for the beneficiaries to utilise the loan and repay, and “repaying back will create room for other people to benefit.
“So, if every beneficiary repay timely, we expect to reach about 10,000 SMEs operators eventually.”
The OYSIPA D-G disclosed that beneficiaries got between N50,000 and N1 million depending on the status of their respective businesses and what the individual applied for.
Speaking on the essence of the monitoring and evaluation, Babatunde, head of the sub-committee on SMEs, said they felt there was need to get a feedback.
”This is so as to have a grip of the programme.”
Babatunde who is the State Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, said the monitoring exercise would enable them “to know the challenges encountered by the microfinance banks in charge of the disbursement.
“We need to check their (microfinance banks) books to be sure that they follow the guidelines given to them in terms of the 60 per cent of the loan going to micro enterprises and 40 per cent to small enterprises.”
A cross-section of the beneficiaries in Ibadan, Oyo and Ogbomoso zones where the team visited on Monday and Tuesday, lauded the SMEs stimulation packages.
They described the programme as “grease in the wheel of their respective businesses”
He also commended the administration of Seyi Makinde for its commitment towards a programme that would lift millions of people from poverty level.
Mrs Omolara Ogundeji, a pretty trader, and Deborah Adedayo, a catering services provider, respectively said the economic impact of the loan was enormous.
Ogundeji who accessed a N200,000 loan in October said her trading business has been expanded as a result of the loan she invested on it.
Adedayo, who accessed N500,000 said she now do her catering services business with over N700,000, thereby making more gains.
Equally, Mr Oluwafemi Adetunji, a barber who also sells phone accessories, said he accessed N250,000 to upgrade his business.
Adetunji said his standard of living has started improving gradually as a result of the loan facility which he used to buy more phone accessories.
On their part, Mrs Foluke Akinpelu and Mrs Nofisat Wahab who accessed N1 million each appreciated the Oyo State government for the opportunity of the loan facility.
Akinpelu, who is into Event Planning and Decorations, said the loan was timely when she got it and its impact on her business has been greatly a success.
Wahab, a whole seller of soft drinks and wine, said the loan has enabled her to expand her business.
Also, Mr Michael Babatunde and Mr Timothy Fadipe, cashew and cassava farmers respectively in Ogbomoso, said the money has been expended on planting more crops to expand their farms.
Babatunde who accessed N750,000 said he has expanded his cashew farm with additional five acres, while Fadipe said his cassava farm has been expanded to about 10 acres.