Delta State Government is to establish ten (10) industries this year to promote Medium and Small Scale Enterprise in the state.
Announcing this during a Town Hall Meeting with owners of SME’s in Asaba, the Governor outlined the industries to include four (4) Fish Feed Mills and six (6) Cassava Processing Plants.
He said government would establish the industries but they would be managed by private investors to make them viable and ensure efficient management.
Uduaghan who also announced that the state government would establish Small Industrial Parks in Urban Centers in the state laid emphasis on the establishment of Industrial Parks for shoe manufacturers in the state.
“I’m going to put in as part of our plans the establishment of Industrial parks and develop village Parks for shoe manufacturers in the state.”
He disclosed that his administration has made adequate arrangement to partner with Germany on Youth Development Program where the youths would acquire technical skills on various fields of endeavour.
“We have appealed to Germany when the Ambassador came, to assist us in training our talents in technical and vocational skills.”
He therefore gave assurance that infrastructures would be provided at various Industrial Parks to encourage investors to establish Industries.
The Governor said that the state has acquired 130 transformers and expressed the hope that when distributed the current epileptic supply of power would be checked.
The Governor asked the Business Community to invest and take risk explaining that the state has a lot of potentials which they could explore.
In an opening address, the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry Mr. Kingsley Emu explained that the One Billion Naira Loan to SME’s in the state was provided for by the state government and the Bank of Industry (BOI)
He stated that the Ministry recorded about 80% default after the disbursement of 20% of the One billion naira loan noting that the Ministry had stopped further disbursement to map out strategies on how to improve on the process.
Mr. Emu highlighted the reasons for the default by Co-operative Societies to include lack of ability to appropriately manage the loan and lack of adequate monitoring and supervision by the Financial Institutions.
Speaking further, he observed that strategies have been put in place to ensure that the process of disbursement and refunding of the loan was improved upon to benefit more Deltans.
“One of the strategies, we have put in place is to encourage banks to assist SMEs with funds and reduce their interest rate to enable them pay back within the stipulated period of two years.
One of the participants enumerated the problems they are facing as Small & Medium Scale Entrepreneurs to include epileptic power supply, high interest rate charged on the loan by Banks and equipping Vocational Centres in the state.
Another participant pleaded with the governor to ensure that these loans are given to genuine SME’s rather than Politicians usurping the available spaces for their candidates.
“Sir, please help us beg the politicians to enable us have these spaces. The government put up this programs for us but politicians bring their own list and get the loans for their candidates who are not farmers and do not have Small & Medium Scale Business.”
She continued “They deprived us who the programs are meant for from getting it. I also plead that this loan should be disbursed to beneficiaries according to the nature of their business”.
In response to these comments, the Governor said his administration was committed to building a state without oil and emphasis would be laid on improving on Small & Medium Scale Enterprise.
The commissioners for Information, Women Affairs and Commerce and Industry, Barr. Chike Ogeah, Mrs. Betty Efekodah and Mr. Kingsley Emu respectively, later had a joint press briefing at Government House Press Centre to give details on the outcome of the state Executive Council meeting which held on Wednesday.