By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The loan deal signed between the Ebonyi State government and the Bank of Industry (BoI) has been cancelled by the former.
A statement issued by the state government disclosed that the deal was aborted over the way the BoI has handled the contract meant to uplift civil servants and Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector in the South Eastern state.
Commissioner for Commerce and Industry in Ebonyi State, Ugo Nnachi, announced the withdrawal at the Executive Council Chambers in the Government House, Abakaliki during a joint briefing on the outcome of Tuesday, August 28, State Executive Council meeting by selected officials of Government, led by the Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Senator Emmanuel Onwe.
According to the Commissioner, the state government decided to take over the disbursement due to the delays and inability of the BOI to carry out the disbursement since the funds were lunched several months ago. He added that the state government would henceforth takeover the handling as well as the management procedure to ensure speedy disbursement to benefiting MSMEs and civil servants in the state.
“I want to announce to you that due to the difficulty and delay in disbursing the fund, the state government during the executive council meeting today terminated that programme with the Bank of Industry and the state Ministry of Commerce and Industry will now house the fund and ensure that all the 516 cooperative societies that have applied for the fund get it within the shortest possible time,” Nnamdi explained.
“The termination is not that we are going to stop the loan but the fund will now be driven by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The other thing I will like you to know is that for the SMEs, the fund also is going to be driven by the ministry.
“We want to ensure that the beneficiaries get the money as and at when due. We discovered that the Bank of Industry has made it extremely difficult for the beneficiaries and even in the mail that we sent to them, we told them that the termination was as a result of the delay in the disbursement and the difficulty and stringent conditions in accessing the loan even when most of the beneficiaries have met the requirements.”
According to Nnachi, part of the reason for the decision was based on the inability to carry the SMEs along and the feeling that it was not fair on their part. He informed that for the civil servants, about 516 cooperative societies have been registered to benefit from thibeen fund and to fast track the disbursement, the State Government has processed about 240. He revealed that the bank wrote to them to commence disbursement. However, each of the beneficiaries must pay 1 per cent appraisal fee.
The Commerce and Industry Commissioner stated that for them to deal with the delay and difficulty that have been experienced by the beneficiaries in accessing the loan since the MoU was signed, the state government has decided to pay the 1 per cent appraisal fee.
“They assured us that immediately the payment, disbursement will start. But unfortunately, as I speak with you that disbursement has not commenced and the state government has no alternative than to terminate that relationship and partnership and seek other ways of ensuring that civil servants of the state benefit from the fund at appropriate time.”
Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Power, Emmanuel Uguru during the briefing informed journalists of the Executive Council’s review of the Contract sum for the installation of Solar Power Plants at some strategic locations across the State from the initial N160 million to N207 million, which contracts have also been approved to be awarded at the meeting.
Furthermore, the State Executive Council has approved N52 million to execute sporting activities in the state for the year 2018. The Sports and Youth Development Commissioner in the State, Charles Akpuenika made this known while briefing journalists on his Ministry.
Akpuenika noted that three sports competitions have been earmarked to take place in the state before the end of the year, including the David Umahi Tertiary Institutions Games 2018 for the 10 tertiary institutions in the state. He revealed that the sum of N500,000 has been disbursed to each of the participating institutions to enable them prepare and take part in the games.
The Sports Commissioner named other competitions to hold within the year to include: the School Sports Competitions which will hold in October and the Divine Mandate Football Competition for all the 171 wards in the State. He emphasized that the State Government was intensifying efforts to birth a new Football Club for the state to gainfully utilize the talents that would be discovered through these series of sporting activities lined up in the State.
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