Foundation Guarantees N100m Loan for Small Businesses

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*Ubah Distributes Palliatives

Deji Elumoye and Udora Orizu in Abuja

The Chineto Ozigbo Foundation, a charity organisation helping small and medium businesses overcome the impact of COVID-19, on Saturday said it founder, Mr. Valentine Ozigbo would guarantee a loan of N100 million for small businesses in Anambra State

Likewise, as part of measures to alleviate hardship and cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lawmaker representing Anambra South Senatorial District, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah has commenced the distribution of palliatives across the 21 local government areas in Anambra state.

The General Manager of the foundation, Mr. Izuchukwu Oraelosi said Ozigbo announced this intervention in the businesses ecosystem of the south-eastern state shortly after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) unveiled N50 billion COVID-19 Intervention for households and businesses.

Oraelosi said Ozigbo, a former President and Group Chief Executive Officer, Transcorp Plc, was offering a personal guarantee to enable struggling businesses in Anambra access the CBN fund.

He said: “Through his charity and in partnership with VFD Microfinance Bank and Akalabo Microfinance Bank, Ozigbo would be offering help with putting a loan application together to businesses that wished to apply for the CBN’s COVID-19 loan.

“For applicants who are successful, Ozigbo would provide a guarantee of up to N100 million to enable them access the funding.

“Our founder has almost two decades of banking experience under his belt has seen, firsthand, how struggling entrepreneurs find it difficult to access loan facilities because of difficulties in presenting a guarantee.

“Driven by a deep passion to develop small businesses, which is the livewire of our economy, our founder has taken this uncommon and bold step to help these businesses access the funding they need to survive this difficult time.

“The CBN loan is being administered solely by NIRSAL MicroFinance Bank. It is important to note that foundation is not partnering with CBN or NIRAL. Apart from the awareness we provide, we are offering support to businesses in Anambra who come to us by way of advice on packaging their applications and a guarantee for those who need it. This service is offered at no charge to the loan applicants”, he explained.

Through his foundation, Ozigbo has donated food items, hand sanitizers, facemasks, educational and relief materials worth over N20 million in the entire 177 communities and over 60 markets in Anambra.

In his own part, Ubah said this period was unsettling and difficult for Anambra people as the disruption of their daily sources of livelihood and economic activities have incurred a huge and devastating impact on their ability to meet their most basic needs.

He said this necessitates the need to combine public health efforts with palliative measures so as to prevent hunger and food insecurity from creating further health and social challenges in the state.

The palliatives include 26,000 bags of 5kg rice, 11,200 bags of 5kg garri
9,400 cartons of tummy tummy noodles 6,000 bottles of cooking oil, 32,000 bottles of hand sanitizers.

Others are 65,000 disposable face masks, 8,000 washable face masks
2,000 bags of 25kg garri, 500 bags of 25kg rice, 42 thermometers and
62 tricycles.

He said capable hands and structures that woulf ensure equitable distribution of the palliatives across the nooks and crannies of Anambra had been put in place.

“I want to use this medium to thank Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano for his commitment to tackling this enormous challenge with courage, resolve and determination.

“I also wish to acknowledge the Anambra Progressives with profound gratitude, for selflessly volunteering their time and resources to our noble initiative that will provide a long lasting solution to the COVID-19 scourge and the post pandemic era; by the grace of God, our projects will be unveiled subsequently.

“Come what may, I will keep doing my best to touch lives positively irrespective of the precarious economic situation in the country,” he added