Oyo State government has commenced distribution of grants and loans under the World Bank/Federal Government-Assisted project christened ‘NG Cares,’ which was domesticated as ‘Oyo Cares’ to beneficiaries.
The presentation came up on Tuesday at the office of the Oyo State Investment and Public Private Partnership Agency (OYSIPA), Ibadan, the state capital.
The initiative was conceptualised by the government to mitigate the adverse effect of COVID-19 on businesses which include job losses and closure of some firms.
The beneficiaries comprise those small and medium business owners who found it difficult to pay back loans obtained during COVID-19 and those who found it difficult to operate their businesses due to COVID-19.
Presenting dummy cheques to some first batch beneficiaries, the Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Prof. Musbau Babatunde; his finance counterpart, Mr Akinola Ojo; and Director-General OYSIPA, Ms Lola Olutola, explained that Oyo was the first state in Nigeria to disburse the fund.
“This is a dream come true. Nigeria was just recovering from recession when COVID-19 came. The economy almost collapsed. We approached the World Bank for a solution, and that’s what culminated in Oyo Cares today. This initiative will have multiplier effect on the economy. We thank Governor Makinde for the support he has been giving this project,” Babatunde said.
Speaking, Ojo explained that the initiative was the government’s way of empowering entrepreneurs, adding that Oyo Cares was embraced because it aligned with Governor ‘Seyi Makinde’s vision of taking people from poverty to prosperity.
Elucidating on the beneficiaries, project manager, Oyo NG-CARES, Mr Akin Makinde said support for the first category of beneficiaries will come in form of assisting those who obtained loans during COVID-19 to pay back about 40 per cent of the remainder of their unpaid loan.
Under this category, Makinde said the fund will be paid directly to the originating microfinance bank with the borrower only informed that certain money had been paid on his or her behalf.
He further stated that the second category of beneficiaries will receive operation grants to assist in the running of their businesses between the sum of N120,000 and N240,000.
Makinde explained that the funds will go directly into the company’s account on a monthly basis for six months.
BoI’s State Manager, Mr Cyril Anyanwu, disclosed that the sums would begin to drop in beneficiaries’ bank accounts on Tuesday.
He also urged them to use it for the right purpose.
He lauded the Oyo State government for keying into the NG-CARES programme meant to relieve people of the burden of COVID-19.
Some of the beneficiaries which include Havilllah Foreboding, and Cornerstone Educational Consult have lauded the NG-CARES as touching the existence of businesses and the needs of the poor.