Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has identified the inability of Nigerians to access funds as the major reason for the economic recession and hardship they are currently passing through.
The apex bank however noted that such crucial funds had already been made available to the citizens towards their living better lives.
The Head, Training and Entrepreneur Development Centre of the CBN, Ibadan office, Oyo state, Pastor Funsho Popoolaâ€Ž made the assertion during an empowerment programme organised in Omupo in Ifelodun local government area of Kwara state recently.
The programme was facilitated in conjunction with the Rafiu Ibrabim Bilal (RIB) Foundation of Senator Rafiu Ibrahim representing Kwara south, which was organised for 200 beneficiaries across the seven local government areas in the senatorial zone.
According to Popoola, â€œThough the economic recession â€Žis on its way out, but I’m shocked that up till now, many Nigerians are not interested in information like this that would have helped them out of economic problem. They are rather interested in comedian jokes on the radio and watching movies on the television.â€
The bank chieftain, who revealed that N200 billion had been released by the Federal government since nearly three years ago for this purpose, criticised the massesâ€™ complacency to access the funds despite the fact that the conditions to obtain the funds had â€Žbeen largely relaxed for easier access.
He noted that the economic crisisâ€Ž would have been a serious one had the funds not been released, stressing that so far 45 per cent of the money had been released, adding that the population of the beneficiaries have largely reduced and cushioned the impact of the economic recession.
The CBN officer, who stressed that â€œall that is needed now is a realistic business proposal and a civil service guarantor for the loan which is at 9 per cent interest rateâ€ said the conditions were merely provided to ensure that the money is judiciously spent and paid back for others to benefit.
He therefore urged Nigerians with realistic and good business plans to contact the Bank of Industry (BoI), Bank of Agriculture (BoA) and other Microfinance banks in their locality, to access the funds and improve the nationâ€™s economic well-being.
Popoola however urged the beneficiaries in Kwara south senatorial district to endeavour to attend a three-week entrepreneurial lecture by the officials of the CBN and the RIB Foundation who would guide them on how best to use the funding in order for their businesses to grow and multiply.
The Senator representing Kwara South senatorial district at the upper chamber of the National Assembly, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim said acquisition of entrepreneurial skills has remained a tool for economic recovery.
He said, â€œIf our youths are allowed to acquire skills, they would be able to be agents of employment generation and this would reduce poverty among the society.â€
Represented by the Head of RIB Foundation, Dr. Lawal Abdulazeez, Ibrahim also said part of the vision of the foundation is to create an avenue for entrepreneurial developmentâ€Ž, educational support, empowerment, and enterprise development.
He noted that the participation had been overwhelming, stressing that, â€œAfter the sensitisation, we believe that the applicants will attend the training and after the training, they will be empowered with necessary fundsâ€Ž that will make them establish and expand their businesses.â€
He therefore advised the beneficiaries to concentrate on creating jobs rather than seeking for jobs, which are largely unavailable in the market.