Gov Eno Gives N1.5bn Interest-Free Loan, Launches Free Food Programme

The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Umo Eno, has announced a N1.5bn interest-free loan programme for traders in the state.

While launching the initiative, the governor said the loan will be managed by the Ibom Fadama Micro Finance Bank.

This is as he also launched the free food voucher programme for the vulnerable and the less privileged at the popular Itam market, located in Itu Local Government Area.

The free food voucher for the vulnerable is a key element of the Bulk Purchase Agency Bill that was signed into law a week ago. A Board to handle the process was equally inaugurated.

The key responsibility of the agency is to provide free staple food items such as garri, rice and beans to the most vulnerable through the Social Register.

Speaking on the initiative, the governor advised leaders to think of extra-ordinary solutions to challenges, adding that the loan and free food programmes were part of his administration’s way of intervening during current economic hardship in the country.

“When leaders are faced with daunting social problems, they usually think outside the box and that’s what motivated me to set up the Bulk Purchase Agency and the free food voucher drive initiative.”, Governor Eno said.

“We have reviewed all of the options, and this for us, remains the best. We are partnering with the market leaders, and I want to thank them for the cooperation we have so far received from them.

“Let me repeat here that this is purely an interventionist act; the solution to our food security remains the need for us to go back to the farm. Yesterday, I paid an unannounced visit to a farm run by one of your young men and I was so impressed with what the young man is doing that we pledged to support him. I will continue to pay visits to farms run by both people in government and others.

“ I have heard of how some of you go to some places to get loans with very high interest rates and that has made the cost of food go up, and before you finish paying the loans, you cannot meet up with your market or trading obligations anymore.

“I have come to tell you not to take such loans anymore. Consequently, we are releasing five hundred million Naira interest-free loans to each of the three senatorial districts (1.5 billion Naira in total,) to help your business.

The governor also promised to construct a car park, provide solar panel lights, and modern toilet facilities, all of which were the prayers of the leadership of the Itam Market.

He then directed the transition chairmen of the remaining 29 councils to ensure they launch the free voucher food program by next Tuesday.

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