UNDP Offers N200m Support to Bayelsa MSMEs

Olusegun Samuel in Yenagoa

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) yesterday offered a N200 million support to Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Bayelsa State.

Leader of the UNDP team,  Joyce Oboro, who presented a cheque to Governor Douye Diri at the Government House in Yenagoa, said the objective of the initiative, which was co-sponsored by the European Union (EU), was to mitigate the effect of the current socio-economic challenges through the empowerment of medium and small businesses across various sectors.

She said the components of the programme include financial support and  capacity building while the cluster-based approach will be adopted to achieve set objectives.

Expressing the optimism that the project will stimulate economic growth and improve the standard of living of Bayelsa people, Oboro urged well-meaning groups and individuals to key into the project.

Diri, in his remarks, welcomed the partnership between the government and the UNDP to develop MSMEs in the state, stressing that his administration was already doing a lot in developing and supporting MSMEs.

He said in line with the prosperity mantra of his administration, the government had trained many Bayelsa people and empowered them with starter packs as well as offered grants of N200,000 monthly to 420 small business owners across the 105 wards as part of its effort to encourage small businesses.

He assured the UNDP delegation that the state will play its role in the partnership, insisting that whatever will add value to the lives of Bayelsans his administration will take it seriously.

The governor equally acknowledged the support of the UNDP when Bayelsa battled a terrible flood in 2022, describing the organisation as a true friend of the state.

He said: “For us as an administration, our mantra has been shared prosperity. Our people have to prosper in all aspects of their lives. So we are very happy to meet development-oriented organisations like yours.

“Let me acknowledge the UNDP for its support to our people during the flood in 2022. We have been partners. Going forward, I believe we will have a robust relationship with you. We are very well prepared to partner and play our role to ensure we attract whatever is due to us.

“In Bayelsa, we started a programme three years ago and gave out grants to encourage small businesses. We paid N200,000 each to 420 SMEs monthly across the 105 wards in the state until the end of our first tenure. Now we want to evaluate the level of success of the scheme.

“I am happy with the aspect of capacity building, training and mentorship. As a government, we have been doing that and after training we also give them starter packs. So you are coming to an area we consider a priority.

“It is good to build other infrastructure, but the human beings to manage them is more important. That is why as a government we are taking it seriously and I believe that this is one partnership that will bring succour to our people.”

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