By Onuminya Innocent
The Sokoto State government has disbursed interest-free loans of N1 billion to traders and artisans in the state.
The disbursement was done at the flag-off of the state micro finance bank in its effort to improve the lives of the citizenry and accelerate their socio-economic development.
The state Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who flagged off the operations of the Giginya Micro-Finance Bank in Sokoto Friday, said: “The loan is going to be revolving in nature and will be paid back on monthly installments in two years for others to benefit.”
Giginya Micro-Finance Bank is the first indigenous bank in Sokoto State licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Tambuwal also assured the people that the state government is poised to grow the financial base by sourcing for N2 billion from the CBN, “to support our traders and all those at the micro, small and medium level of the economy”.
According to him, “The bank is planning to grow its deposit base from major stakeholders, contractors, state government, parastatals, agencies and placement from individuals and corporate bodies.”
The bank, he said, will also key into the Islamic banking window to provide various services of Islamic Sharia allowable banking transaction such as Mudaraba, Murabaha, Salam, Ijara and Istisna.
The governor emphasized that his administration, is “ready to continuously empower traders and artisans to make their lives easier through the provision of non-interest soft loans for their various businesses”.
He promised that other empowerment programmes for different groups of businesses would also be implemented.
In his address, the Commissioner for Commerce and Industries, Alhaji Bashir Gidado, thanked the state government for initiating the facility, saying that the loans will stimulate commercial activities in the state.
He added that the loan is not the first to be provided for traders and explained that the sum of N500 million have been distributed previously to them.
The Chairman of the bank, Alhaji Sambo Bashar, said the effort of the state government can only be further emphasized by the noble intention of the state governor to lift the poor and women out of penury.
The representative of the Sultan of Sokoto, Prof. Sambo Wali Junaidu, Wazirin Sokoto, while noting that the micro finance bank is a step towards the economic development of the state, requested that 50 per cent of the beneficiaries should be women, many of whom are in purdah.