Akpoti unveils business start-up fund for 5000 Kogi women, youth

Contributing to the actualisation of self-employment goal in Nigeria, a governorship aspirant on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Kogi state, Natasha Akpoti, has inaugurated a scheme of a business start-up fund for 5000 Kogi women and youths.

She set up the Natasha Akpoti Impact Investment Limited (NAIIL) where the people at the grassroots can borrow money with zero interest rate to drive the scheme.

Speaking at the inauguration, Akpoti said the first phase of the soft loan scheme with zero interest rate was meant for women across the 21 local government areas of the state who are mainly petty traders.

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She stated that the N20, 000 zero-interest loan scheme is payable within five months which will guarantee the beneficiaries to apply for a higher amount and also pave way for other people to benefit from the scheme.

Akpoti further explained that the programme was to create a financial lending platform where the people at the grassroots would have access to borrow money to start or boost their businesses without the burden of loan.

According to her, she put the scheme in place because of the agonies of the people at the grassroots on the challenges posed by many loan schemes with high-interest rates that the women could not bear.

The initiator said, “The scheme is designed in such a way that after paying the N20, 000 interest loan,  the beneficiary will have access to obtain a higher amount of money up to hundred thousand naira.

“The people at the grassroots who are supposed to be the strength of the country’s economy are extremely poor not because of lack of ideas but because they don’t have access to funds scheme with zero interest where the people can easily have access to it without rigorous procedures.

“The bigger picture is to create a platform for people at the grassroots to be trained on how to manage their businesses, sell their products and create an avenue where they can access free interest loans”, she said.

Speaking at the event, the North Central Zonal Coordinator of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Mrs Charity Abba, said the organisation was motivated to partner with Akpoti because she was working with the vision of the agency.

She, however, promised to work with the NAIIL through a sustainable business mentoring programme and educate the beneficiaries on how they can access the soft loan scheme of the agency and educate them on CAC registration.

Similarly, the United Bank for Africa (UBA) regional manager, Mr Yusuf Omeiza educated the beneficiaries on how to develop their businesses and nurture it to a sustainable level.

Speaking on behalf of the president of Kogi Central market women, the treasurer, Okehi market women, Yusuf Maria, said Akpoti had set a developmental standard for people in positions of authority to trail

According to her, the initiative would help her members were merely surviving on high loan schemes like Lapo, promising to advise them to utilise it judiciously and payback to allow other people to benefit from the scheme.

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