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By Charles Iornumbe

In view of the current economic downturn,it has become expedient for government at all levels to seek ways of cushioning effect of the hardship on the People.
In Benue,the State government had,by way of looking outside the box,gone into agreement with the Bank of Industry to provide Two Billion naira loan facility to support small and medium enterprises SME's,under which arrangement,the State government and the Bank is to make available a billion naira each.
A memorandum of understanding to this effect had been signed barely two weeks ago with the steering Committee chaired by Governor Samuel Ortom for implementation and management of the loan inaugurated today at the Benue People's House,Makurdi.
At inauguration of the steering Committee,Governor Ortom announced that his administration has waived its fifty percent share of interest on the loan per year to enable beneficiaries access it at five percent interest rate as part of the sacrifice his government had to make to the People.
Governor Ortom stated that the situation whereby the previous administration accessed a Two Billion naira loan from the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN but diverted it into private pockets leaving the State with huge debts to offset would not arise under him.
He promised that his administration would continue to support micro,small and medium enterprises to grow as that was one of the ways by which economy of the State would be accelerated and urged People with genuine business intention to take advantage of the opportunity by applying for the loan.
The Governor maintained that as Chairman of the steering Committee,he would ensure that they were thorough and transparent in their procedures and monitor implementation and utilisation of the loan strictly,develop modalities for selection of benefiting SME's in the State in line with approved guidelines,collate and screen applications,identify potential beneficiaries and recommend same to the Bank of Industry among other terms of reference.
The Steering Committee has Doctor Tersoo Kpelai as alternate Chairman while Terwase Orbunde,Stephen Amase,James Anbua,Asema Achado,Doctor Bem Malladu,Maichael Gusa,representatives of CNN and BOI are some of the members with Mr.Emmanuel Doughdough as Secretary.

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