The Anambra State Small Business Agency (ASBA) says it will disburse more than N5 billion in loans to encourage small scale businesses across the state in 2018 fiscal year.
Its Managing Director, Clement Chukwuka, told newsmen in Awka, the state capital, on Monday that the aim was to create jobs and reduce unemployment rate in the state.
Mr. Chukwuka said the agency was leveraging on its strength with financial institutions in and outside Anambra to source the funds, adding that the agency was giving loans to micro, small and medium enterprises.
He recalled that the agency disbursed N2 billion naira in loans in 2017, adding that the agency would approach the Central Bank of Nigeria to raise more funds to support the one billion naira earmarked for the agency in the 2018 state budget.
“The state government earmarked one billion naira for the agency in this year’s budget, but we hope to get more funds from the Central Bank of Nigeria in addition to recovered loans from the beneficiaries of loans already disbursed by the agency,’’ he said.
Mr. Chukwuka said that funding would not pose any problem, saying: “what will be a problem is developing critical projects that need to be funded.
“Windows for CBN funding is huge, that of Bank of Industry is also huge, our job is to educate business owners on how to access the loans.”
Mr. Chukwuka said in 2017, the agency funded shoe cluster industries which attracted ancillary services thereby boosting job creation and earnings by individuals.
He also said that the agency was encouraging youths to venture into agriculture as well as other economic activities.
He also said that beneficiaries of the agency’s loans were doing well, stressing that between 65 per cent and 75 per cent was recorded in loan repayment.
“We have a strategy to recover our money and to assist beneficiaries of our loans to thrive in their businesses,’’ he said, stressing that the agency had highly qualified staff.