Bayelsa has been adjudged best African Micro-Finance Bank Development State in 2017, by the African Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (AASME), in recognition of the State’s efforts at developing micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) aimed at creating jobs and reducing poverty.
The award was presented during the 3rd edition of the African International Small and Medium Enterprises Economic and Security Summit, held Wednesday, at Binez Hotel, in Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State.
Goodman Arogo, head, Human Resource Management, Bayelsa State Microfinance and Enterprise Development Agency (BYMEDA), who represented both Governor Seriake Dickson, and Ebiekure Jasper Eradiri, director general, BYMEDA, said that the state government through the establishment of BYMEDA in 2014, has attracted funding into the state in excess of N8billion.
He also disclosed that the state government has so far disbursed over N9billion to small businesses in form of grants and loans, which has led to the generation of over 7,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Arogo, in an exclusive interview with BDSUNDAY, said that the state government in pursuit of financial inclusiveness of micro and small businesses in remote riverine areas in the State, through BYMEDA has promoted and established the Izon-Ibe Microfinance Bank (IMB) Limited with about 11 branches across the state.
Adding that the state government intends to provide easy credit facilities and non-financial services to low income households and vulnerable groups to improve entrepreneurial spirit, reduce poverty and abridge the socio-economic gap in the state.
He also explained that, “Through the CBN-MSMEDF scheme, BYMEDA has successfully accessed the sum of N2billion in 3 tranches and thereby creating over 7,000 direct and indirect jobs and also organized capacity development training for CBN-MSMEDF beneficiaries.
“The State has also launched business idea banks in the State to collate business ideas, analyse them and provide support to the entrepreneurs, as well as engage in field visit to SMEs in the State that benefited from the scheme”.
He also said that the state government, through BYMEDA as the special purpose vehicle (SPV) is to access the Bank of Industry (BoI) fund for SMEs in the State.
Recall that BYMEDA’s performance was also recognized at the continental level, where Ebiekure Jasper Eradiri, its director general, was listed as HIVE Global Africa Leader.
The State has been nominated to host the All Africa Association for SME Roundtable 2018, scheduled for March 1 to 3 in Yenagoa, the state capital.
BYMEDA also emerged winner of the 2017 World SME Excellence Award at the 21st International Conference on SMEs in New Delhi, India.
Darlington Kalu, president general, African Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (AASME) organisers of the Awards said, “There is need to forge greater ties with other African countries to attract investments from the international community.”