Unfunded Enugu SME Applicants React As Agency Embarks On Fresh Mobilisation
Some micro-credit applicants at Enugu Small and Medium Enterprises Centre, Tuesday, called on the agency to fund backlogs of qualified applicants before commencing new ones.
They were reacting to the ongoing local government grass-roots mobilisation on the need for residents of the state to access the agency’s micro-credits.
THE WHISTLER reports that the centre had begun the campaign billed to cover the whole seventeen local government areas of the state. The campaign is tagged ‘local government area sensitisation tour’.
The governor’s special adviser on SME development and head of the centre, Mr Arinze Chilo-Offiah, had, during the flag-off, said, “The campaign is to ensure that those at the grass-roots level benefit from the centre’s programmes… The tour is championed by the governor in an endeavour to enlighten Ndi-Enugu about the schemes that would be of benefit to the development of their communities.”
However, an applicant, who simply identified himself as Ben, said the centre was wrong to kick-start the sensitisation when old applicants were yet to be funded.
He said, “I applied for micro-credit facilities since two years ago. That was when the centre was being headed by Mr Anayo Agu. Till date, we have not gotten any dime.
“We are over one thousand under this category. We were at the point of being funded when Anayo was removed. Since then, it has been come today, come tomorrow.
“I know applicants that borrowed to fulfil all requirements then. We had to pay about N10, 000 for the financial literary training. We were forced to register a business name at the Corporate Affairs Commission. We paid to get our business plans pre-qualified.”
Another applicant, who refused to mention her name, said, “I guess the non-funding of those cleared by the former boss is selfishly motivated. The new management might skip the old ones because the head that interviewed and qualified them had gone. We are waiting, but some of us have lost interest in the whole thing. Their embarking on fresh sensitisation is to drag more people to the centre for reasons best known to them.
“About two years ago, we were told that the funds had been released by the Central Bank of Nigeria. I also heard that the state government had paid her counterpart funds. Where are they today? The business I planned to start with it is dead already because I rented a shop and the duration expired while waiting for the funding.”
Our correspondent reports that some successful applicants were billed to receive amounts ranging from N5m to N20. The interest rate, it was gathered, is about six percent with repayment period varying from five years and above.
An inquiry at the centre, through its identified telephone number, said the successful applicants would be notified on August 26 this year.
According to the female responder, who said her name is Hannah, “They should kindly exercise patience. The programme will resume on August 26 to be precise. Text messages and emails will be sent out to successful applicants.”