By Joy Odigie
Benin – Edo Ministry of Wealth Creation, Cooperatives and Employment, says plans are ongoing to assist Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the state with single digit interest loans after the lockdown.
The Commissioner of the ministry, Mr Felix Akhabue, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Benin on Tuesday.
Akhabue said SMEs were the backbone of any economy, noting that supporting them to thrive especially after the lockdown period was a way to reduce unemployment, hunger and crimes.
“The state needs to provide soft loans and micro credit schemes for SMEs to continue their businesses as some of them have not been operating during the lockdown.
“Some owners of SMEs have even spent their working capital on personal and family upkeep during this period.
“We are working with the state government and foreign donor agencies on provision of soft loans to support SMEs to bounce back after the lockdown,” he said.
He said the loan categories would range from N500,000 to N10,000,000 depending on the size of the SMEs and between N100,000 to N200,000 for micro businesses.
“The loan will attract a single digit interest rate of 5 per cent and 9 per cent depending on the type of business and six to 12 months moratorium period.
“We believe the lockdown will ease soon because the country cannot be shut down for too long. People will have to learn to live with the coronavirus by taking all the necessary precautionary measures,” Akhabue said.