By Habibu Harisu
Sokoto – The Sokoto State government, through its Giginya Microfinance Bank, will be offering interest-free loans to about 1,800 women in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 1,800 women will be selected out of 6,000 persons, to benefit from the state government’s N500 million interest-free loans.
Gov. Aminu Tambuwal, who made the disclosure in Sokoto on Friday, while inaugurating the Giginya Microfinance Bank, said that the scheme was aimed at fast tracking small businesses in the state.
Tambuwal said that the bank was registered with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to also enhance the socio-economic wellbeing of the people of the state.
He said that the small-scale loans and others would be targeted at women and youth entrepreneurs at the grassroots.
The governor also disclosed that a higher loan scheme for high level business owners was also being designed for higher investments.
He said that the bank would be established in each of the three senatorial districts, with diverse acceptable Islamic financial systems for people’s development.
Tambuwal said that traders, allied unions and other stakeholders were included to ensure accelerated growth, adding that beneficiaries were selected from all the 23 local government areas of the state.
He said the bank would also offer different services, including payment of workers’ salaries and overdrafts as well as services for small-scale businesses.
Tambuwal further stated that the bank’s board members and management were selected based on their track records in financial management and entrepreneurship skills.
The state Commissioner for Commerce, Alhaji Bashar Gidado, said that the soft loans were aimed at rejuvenating the growth of small-scale businesses across the state.
”5,000 persons will obtain N50,000 each in the first category, while N250,000 will be shared to 1,000 persons in the second category,’’ he said.
The commissioner thanked the governor for approving the national trade fair to be hosted in Sokoto in March, in collaboration with the state Chamber of Commerce.
Alhaji Sambo Basharu, the bank’s Board Chairman, said that the initiative would encourage the citizens’ interest in businesses and enhance business growth in the state.
The Waziri Sokoto, Prof. Sambo Wali-Junaidu, who represented the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, enjoined the beneficiaries to invest the money wisely.