STORY BY AUSTIN OYIBODE
Executive Secretary of Delta State Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency, Barrister Orezi Esievo, on Tuesday said that a total of 1598 micro, small and medium enterprises will benefit from the Delta CARES programme for the next two years.
Giving the breakdown during a training organised for 200 enumerators who will enumerate the MSMEs using the eligibility criteria, Barrister Esievo said 798 will benefit in 2021 while 800 will benefit in 2022.
These micro enterprises, according to Esievo, will he drawn from the 25 local government areas of the state where the enumerators will be mobilised for the purpose of identifying existing businesses that are qualified for the programme.
The Delta CARES, an offshoot of Nigeria CARES, is an acronym for Delta State COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (DELTA CARES) which is aimed at stimulating and reviving micro and small scale businesses which were adversely affected by the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.
Addressing journalists during the training organised by the agency in collaboration with Bank of Industry for 200 selected enumerators at the Unity Hall of Delta government house, Esievo said the programme will run for 30 months which is a period of two years and six months.
She said the Delta state governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, came up with the programme to assist micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to help them stand again after being hit by the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
Giving more details, Esievo said: “It is a Nigeria CARES programme. In Delta state, we call it DELTA CARES. The governor cares for his people, hence the approval of the programme for the people of Delta state.
“Existing businesses which have been impacted negatively by the COVID-19 pandemic, this is for them to keep them in business and enable them keep their staff. If they keep dropping off their staff, then we have a problem.
“What we are doing is actually a stimulus programme. It is ro stimulate the economy, businesses, keep them afloat and rise above the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are harnessing existing businesses with critical eligibility criteria. Even though it is critical, it is still simplified so that a lot of people can engage. This programme will run for 30 months, that is two and half years.
“It is being done in collaboration with World Bank. This year, the first approval given by the state executive council is to touch 798 beneficiaries which is a lot. Next year, we will get 800. The other year, 2023, we will do mop up.
“They are to go online and register, if you have a registered business with a business name, very good. If you have a business without registration, go and register with CAC, if you are not in any of these groups, you are micro, micro micro, then form yourselves into cooperatives of 10 of like businesses and register with the ministry of trade and investment. Then, go online and apply.’
She said the job of the enumerators is to examine the business and certify their fitness or otherwise using the eligibility criteria as rolled out by the Bank of Industry.
Barry Gbe, commissioner for economic planning and chairman of the event, said the 200 enumerators were chosen based on the COVID-19 protocols and the state executive council believes that with the 200 enumerators, the 25 local government areas will be covered.
He said he would carry out the job with all sense of seriousness saying: “Anywhere they post me I will do my best to make sure we succeed and there will be no complaint in my unit