The federal government says it has distributed interest-free loans to 828 entrepreneurs on Tuesday in Bayelsa.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, said beneficiaries were entitled to between N50,000 and N300,000.
She added that they needed no collateral security to obtain the loan to develop or expand their businesses.
“Government Enterprise Empowerment Program (GEEP) was designed by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to assist vulnerable and low-income Nigerians involved in commercial activities but had never had the opportunity to access loans. It is meant to give priority to the most vulnerable such as widows, youths, the disabled and the displaced, amongst others,” she said.
The minister added that 8,762 persons applied for the facility in Bayelsa, but only 828 met the set criteria and were shortlisted to receive the loans and that beneficiaries were free to take additional loans after the repayment of the one received on Tuesday and urged them to use the funds prudently.
Ms Farouq explained that the Buhari regime initiated several social intervention programmes in 2016 to provide assistance and relief to the poor and the vulnerable to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030.
Faith Opuene, the Bayelsa commissioner for women and children affairs and social development, lauded the regime for complementing the Bayelsa government’s scheme of empowering 210 persons monthly in the state.
However, Ms Opuene regretted that only about 10 per cent of applicants could benefit from GEEP 2.0.
She called for the sensitisation of social intervention programmes to increase the number of beneficiaries.