Delta State Government has disbursed a total of N1.7 billion to about 85,724 clients made up of 8,070 cluster groups comprising 54,507 industries and agriculture production, serves industries and Delta Oceanic Micro Credit Scheme Account (DOMSA).
The state Government allegedly spent the N1.7bn on its micro-credit scheme since inception in 2008. The scheme, according to the state Commissioner for Special Duties (Micro-Credit), Dr. Antonia Ashiedu, is grouped into cottage industries development, trading, agricultural production and service industries.
The Commissioner for Special Duties (Micro Credit), Dr. Antonia Ashiedu, who made the revelation in Asaba, during an interactive section with correspondents’ chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalist (NUJ), said that a total of 85,724 persons had benefited from the scheme to date.
She revealed that the beneficiaries, who came under 8,070 cluster groups, comprised 53,104 women and 32,263 men and explained that the programme, which was inaugurated on December 14, 2008, was aimed at addressing poverty in the state, especially in the rural communities.
Dr. Ashiedu told journalist that the scheme had transformed the economy of the state and had brought fame and accolades at national and international forum, adding that most of the products from clients of the scheme are sold in major cities in Nigeria while others had made their ways into the international markets in the western countries.
Ashiedu said many state governments had visited Delta State to understudy the programme and ways of transforming the economy of the states and ultimately the living standard of their people.
She further stated that the scheme partners with 28 Micro Finance Banks in the state which were not affected with the recent decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), adding that the programme has won many accolades for the state government.
She also said that scheme was not principally established with the aim of winning awards but to impact in the lives of the rural dwellers and the urban poor, adding that “the programme was not set up to be apolitical as Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan knew that poverty had no political party, hence the programme is operated outside the realms of state politics”.
On the economic benefits of the programme, Ashiedu said that in all the local council areas across the state, it had elicited the entrepreneurial spirit in the rural communities and the urban poor, adding that the scheme had helped to promote the Peace and Security, Human Capital Development and Infrastructure Development agenda of the state government.
“For instance, on the agenda of peace and security, Uvwie Local Lovernment Area of the state, which was once known for youth restiveness and volatility, is now calm.
“This was achieved through micro-credit to fish farmers at the Ekpan fish farm estate where many youths are now engaged in income generating activities.
“Uvwie is now the benchmark for agriculture in the state. At present, there are more than 3,500 fish farmers and more than 8,600 fish ponds across the state,’’ she said.