Dr Michael Tidi, the Chairman, Warri South Local Government area of Delta, says no fewer than 250 small business operators have benefited from the council’s empowerment programme, both cash and items worth N25 million.
Tidi made this known on Tuesday in Warri at the maiden edition of Enterprise and Empowerment Initiative programme of his administration.
He said that the gesture was part of his effort to scale up economic activities in the oil-rich city.
Fifty of the beneficiaries were given the Point of Sale (POS) machines and a sum of N70,000 each to enable them to set up their businesses.
The remaining 200 beneficiaries were given cheques of N100, 000 each to inject into their already existing businesses.
Addressing the beneficiaries, Tidi said that they were drawn from the National Social Register of Delta through the Community Based Targeting (CBT).
He explained that the CBT was saddled with the responsibility of identifying the poors and vulnerables in the communities of Warri South.
“This is the brainchild of the first and second edition of the Warri Economic Summit, which Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa and some economic eggheads and industry personnel attended.
“Part of the recommendations was what we are gradually implementing here today. You and I know that economic progress is anchored on SMEs. This is SME acceleration in every sense of the word.
“This Economic Empowerment programme is a response to the observed deficiencies in the capital base of small scale business operators.
“And lack of investment in human capital development at the grassroots, resulting to uneven distribution of resources to the poor and vulnerable,” Tidi said.
The chairman said that the empowerment was in line with the Okowa’s agenda on human capital development programmes.
“Wherein some small scale business operators in the LGA, who are at the bottom of economic pyramid, are identified for inclusion to access Micro Credit toward boosting their businesses,” he said.
Tidi, however, thanked the governor whom he described as his “mentor” for the various youths empowerment programmes in the state.
While assuring that the programme would come up again in no distant time, he said that its sustainability would be determined by how judicious and efficient the recipients put the resources into use.
“We will be encouraged to do more when we observe that recipients are committed to their business.
“Remember, the council has details of all the recipients and such will be monitoring the extent to which this opportunity will be utilised by the beneficiaries,” Tidi said.
The chairman said that the programme has nothing to do with elections, but rather strictly based on the needs of the people.
He noted that N25 million injected into the economy through the programme would drive the economy of the Warri city.
Tidi said he had embarked on the rehabilitation of the existing boreholes within the council, constructed a befitting Chairman’s Residential Quarters, provided solar light, renovated roads, schools among others that since inception of his administration.
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Anthonia Babajide, commended the local government chairman, assuring him that she would put the money into judicious use. (NAN)