By Jonathan Ugbal; Government House Correspondent
13 months after approving NGN100million to acquire license to float its own financial institution, the Cross River State Government has announced the approval of NGN1billion to float what will be known as the Cross River State Microfinance Bank Limited.
The Governor, Senator Ben Ayade announced this midweek when the executives of the Calabar Chambers of Commerce and Industry led by its President, Effa Imoke paid him a courtesy visit in his office in Calabar where he announced that this will boost small and medium scale enterprises as well as encourage local investors to grow their businesses.
Ayade expressed optimism that the chambers can utilize the state’s relationship with the bank of industry to finance projects. He sued for synergy and pledged the state’s readiness to support the growth of businesses.
“I believe that you can expand the horizon of your business and take advantage of our good contact with the bank of industry which is located here in Calabar looking for projects to finance,” Ayade said, adding that; “If you come to us as a chamber and say this is our areas of core competence, we will work with you. There is need for us to collaborate so that a synergy can yield results for us all.”
He continued: “If you have a business or an investment outlet that requires an off taker arrangement, Cross River will provide that off taker guarantee which is an essential element for the Bank of Industry to finance you, particularly when you are doing things that are dependent on raw materials import in Cross River State.”
Earlier, Imoke who congratulated Ayade for his award as Vanguard governor of the year, sought for partnership with the state in the management of the Calabar International Convention Center and the Songhai Farm located in Abi Local Government Area of the state.
The chambers which conferred Ayade with a honorary membership and brand tag, appealed for support in the hosting of its 75th anniversary and annual general meeting and a 3 hectare piece of land for the chamber’s secretariat.
The State Executive Council in an emergency sitting in February 2016 had approved NGN100million licensing fee for the financial institution with the Information and Orientation Commissioner, Rosemary Archibong explaining that it will boost businesses in the state.
“After due deliberation and consideration, the council today approved the release of the sum of 100 million Naira being the CBN’s requirement for licensing of the Microfinance bank” Archibong had said.
She added further, “With this development, our women and youth entrepreneurs who are desirous of establishing their own business can now have unhindered access to funds at a competitive rate even at the remotest part of the state to better their lots.”
The Commerce and Industry Commissioner, Peter Egba on his part said the decision to establish a microfinance bank will create easy access for Cross Riverians to, loan facilities to grow and encourage micro businesses to thrive in the state as its branches will spread across the state while the headquarters will be sited in Calabar.
“When the small and micro businesses thrive, the informal sector thrives, the spin-off will be huge employment opportunities that will absorb greater number of our population” Egba said.
He explained that the N100 million licensing fee to CBN was refundable as the apex bank will refund the money as soon as registration and licensing formalities are concluded and disclosed that the Bank has already been registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission, adding that once the license is secured operation will commence immediately.
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