By Isaiah Eka
Uyo, Oct. 5, 2021 SMEDAN disbursed grants totalling N4,620,000 to 16 cooperatives in Akwa Ibom on Saturday.
Each of the cooperatives received N288,750 together with certification of training in agribusiness development.
The distribution of the grants held at the close of an Agribusiness Development and Empowerment Programme for selected cooperative societies, self-help groups, trade associations and organisations held by SMEDAN.
South-South Zonal Director of SMEDAN, Mr Egbuna Ilona, who represented the Director-General, Dr Dikko Umar, said the programme was to foster emergence of new businesses among youths and women.
He said the training was to ensure speedy and healthy competition among entrepreneurs and to encourage diversification of the economy away from oil and gas.
“The objectives of this training include to encourage the target beneficiaries to embrace agribusiness development as a viable business option and to strengthen entrepreneurship skills of potential and existing beneficiaries of agribusiness development schemes.
“It is also to facilitate networking and exchanges among beneficiary farmers and their peers for value addition and inclusive value chain development.
“Consequently, as part of our engagement here, 16 agribusiness cooperatives from this intervention are from Eket and Uyo,’’ Ilona said.
In her remarks, the Cooperative Officer in Akwa Ibom’s Ministry of Rural Development and Cooperatives, Mrs Iniobong Akpan, commended SMEDAN for its timely support for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the state.
She represented the commissioner, Mrs Enobong Mbobo, at the occasion.
Mrs Akpan advised the beneficiary cooperatives to use the grants diligently to generate further incomes.
“I must say that I am pleased with what Federal Government has done through SMEDAN today.
“This money being given today as grant will help you go a long way if you make proper use of it. Don’t divert the money meant for business to pleasure,’’ she said.
In her remarks, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Mrs Ini Adiakpan, also warned the beneficiaries against mismanagement of the funds.
She advised that the grant should be invested in income-generating ventures.
SMEDAN disburses N4.6m grant to cooperatives in Akwa Ibom
By Isaiah Eka