Bayelsa State Government on Thursday, November 24, 2022, disbursed a cash grant of N42 million to 210 indigenous small-scale entrepreneurs in Yenagoa, the state capital.
Each beneficiary got N200,000 as part of the monthly programme inititated by Governor Douye Diri in February 2022.
According to Mrs Faith Opuene, Commissioner for Women, Children Affairs and Empowerment, the gesture was borne out of the need to assist indigenous SMEs to expand their businesses. She further stated that the goal is to reverse the dominance of Small and Medium Scale businesses by non-indigenes in the state. Opuene emphasized that small businesses in Bayelsa were dominated by non-indigenes, hence the need to assist indigenes to grow and expand their businesses in the state.
Speaking on how the beneficiaries were selected, she explained that a male and a female entrepreneur were chosen from the 105 political wards in the eight Local Government Areas of Bayelsa. The selection committee comprises seven members to ensure that no beneficiary received the monthly grant more than once. This is achieved by collecting the biometrics of every beneficiary to check multiple payments.
The beneficiaries were also advised to use the funds wisely since structures are in place to monitor their performance, adding that only those who grew their businesses would benefit from future grant programmes of the state.
Bayelsa has so far disbursed N336 million under the initiative to 1,680 beneficiaries drawn from all eight LGAs of the state. Governor Duoye Diri is set to maintain the grant programme every month until his tenure is over.