NEDEP: FG to disburse funds to first batch of cooperatives

From Ayodele Samuel and Zainab Yusuf, Lagos

The Federal Government yesterday disclosed that the first batch of cooperative bodies set up under the National Enterprise development programme (NEDEP) will get approved funding before the end of February.

The Director General, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigerian SMEDAN, Bature Umar Masari while speaking with newsmen in Lagos, said the approval for the award of funds was obtained after the cooperatives’ business plans successfully passed the requisite assessment and evaluation of SMEDAN and the Bank of Industry (BOI).

He added that the NEDEP programme entails the implementation of the One Local Government One Product (OLOP) programme which is based on a borrowed idea from Japan which has seen them developing economically and otherwise.

“And so far we have been able to cover 22 states within a period of three months and we have also formed as at the end of December 2013, 20, 111 cooperative bodies all over the country that are now very busy being guided by SMEDAN to come up with bankable business plans.”

According to him some of the successful cooperatives with bankable business plans have already received letters of award from BOI.

He explained that all developed business plans must come through SMEDAN before it goes to BOI who also in turn gives SMEDAN a copy of their assessment and evaluation of the cooperative, stressing that all these are done in order to minimize the incidence of defaults.

He also disclosed that the minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, OlusegunAganga and SMEDAN were also reaching out to other commercial banks because of the need for competition even in the area of access to finance.

He noted that other funding agreements will equally be entered into with other funding institutions like CBN, BOA and other commercial banks that are SME friendly because it is not every commercial bank that is SME friendly.

Masari urged those who do not have the needed financial muscle to go about their businesses to key into this programme stressing that it is a programme that will be audited and evaluated continuously by independent bodies that would be set up.

The scheme which was officially flagged off by President Goodluck Jonathan last week is the flagship programme of the ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment which is domiciled in SMEDAN, BOI and ITF for implementation.


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