By Cecilia Ologunagba
No fewer than 90 artisans in Mpape, FCT, have benefited from the Federal Government National-Social Investment Programme (N-SIP) under the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP).
GEEP was designed to provide small scale enterprises access and financial services over a period of six months.
The Chairman of Mpape Artisans Association, Mr Obafemi Obalanlege, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja, that the programme had help to boost their businesses.
Obalanlege thanked the Federal Government for remembering them by providing loans to boost their businesses.
“We have had so many governments that promised to support us without fulfiling their promises; we didn’t believe this programme until we started receiving alert of payment.
“ Ninety of us that benefited from the loans used it for different purposes; some used it to start business, some use to buy equipment while some use it to revive their moribund businesses,’’ he said.
According to him, some of them received N100,000 and others received N50,000 as soft loans to be paid back in six months.
He said that members had been paying the loan weekly to cover for the repayment period of six months.
The official, however, appealed to the FCTA to provide a permanent site for the association to do its work effectively.
“We appreciate the loans but we prefer to have a place where we can practice as artisans,’’ he said.
Also, Sunday Okogun, a member of the association, said the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo came to visit their members early this year.
Okogun said that was their first experience of receiving a big dignitary to encourage the members and we knew there was hope for us through the visit.
“I have received the loan of N50,000 and I am paying N5,000 weekly; we are expected to pay back in six months,’’ he said.
He said the loan had supported his automobile business and that he was planning to get more to investment in his business.
“They told us that if we finish paying the N50,000 on time, we can apply for N100,000 and if we finish paying it, we can apply for N500,00 and from that amount to one million Naira,’’ Okogun said.
Meanwhile, the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments said the government would scale up GEEP to cover the 36 states.
She said loans of between N10,000 and N100,000 had so far been disbursed to a total of 59,376 GEEP beneficiaries across 32 States across geopolitical zones.
According to her, 56 per cent of our beneficiaries are female.
“Artisans have borrowed 28 per cent livestock, poultry, chicken and fish farmers have borrowed nine per cent of the total so far disbursed while crop farmer product commencement would hopefully be at the end of June.
“We are reserving 25 per cent of all loans for farmers. All in all, youth (18-35 years) cutting across all categories constitute 35 per cent of our beneficiaries,’’ she said.