We've Funded 13,750 Small Businesses in Anambra ... Gov Obiano

By Ikenna Aniagboso
Chief Clement Chukwuka, MD/CEO Anambra State Small Business Agency (ASBA)
Chief Clement Chukwuka, MD/CEO Anambra State Small Business Agency (ASBA)

Governor of Anambra state, Chief Willie Obiano has revealed that his administration has funded 13,750 small businesses in the state in addition to providing timely support to critical infrastructure since inception.

Governor Obiano spoke on Tuesday through the MD/CEO of Anambra Small Business Agency (ASBA) Chief Clems Chukwuka during an interactive session with members of his media team tagged "Meet the Media."

"We took off in 2015 with N2,000,000,000.00 (two billion naira only). One billion was given to micro credits while one billion went to SMEs as single digit loans. So far, we have funded about 13,750 micro enterprises and supported critical infrastructure in the state.

We funded many co-operative societies which were made up of market women, artisans, farmers and youths. These youths were trained in many fields including rice farming, poultry, fishery, shoe making, metal fabrication and others. We supported their businesses with single digit loans of N500,000 and they are doing well today. No wonder Anambra has the least rate of unemployment in Nigeria", he declared.

L-R: James Eze (Chief Press Secretary To Gov. Obiano), Chief Clement Chukwuka, (MD/CEO Anambra State Small Business Agency (ASBA), Emeka Ozumba (Deputy Chief Press Secretary To Gov. Obiano)

According to him, "ASBA was created to exterminate poverty from Anambra state and create wealth for Ndi Anambra. The agency was conceived and established by Gov Obiano in 2014, to be a development financial agency for Anambra state".

"Note that MSMEs are the pillars; the engine room of any developing economy", he opined. In Anambra, the MSMEs account for about 75% of businesses that contribute essentially to the economy and GDP of the state and any dynamic and serious government must address this sector. This is why Gov Obiano made wealth creation, through ASBA, one of the enablers of his economic blueprint for Anambra state", he further stated.

Continuing, Chief Chukwuka revealed that Gov Obiano's belief that strong institutions begets strong legacies compelled him to institutionalize ASBA by signing into law the bill that proposed its creation after it was duly passed by the Anambra state House of Assembly.

Going further, Chief Chukwuka said that Gov Obiano mandated the agency to partner with development financial institutions in the country to raise facility to support the MSMEs. "The CBN, Bank of Industry and other development finance institutions have supported us with funds and I am proud to say that we have recovered about 85% of the loans we gave out and this has encouraged us to do more".

ASBA has also developed and sponsored business clusters that have become major business hubs serving business interests in Nigeria and Africa. "One of such clusters is the shoe making business cluster situated at Nkwele Ezunaka. There we funded about 800 shoemakers with N500,000 each but through a tripartite arrangement between the government, the union and a developer, to build a business cluster of about 1000 shops. The cluster today, exports shoes to other African countries".

"The performance of the shoe making business cluster has motivated the Federal and state government to build a warehouse that will accommodate modern shoe making equipment which the FG acquired to support the shoemakers. The state government has also started the development of a textile and tailoring cluster to enhance textile making and tailoring in the same area. This and many other accomplishments won us the Federal Government's award as the best state that supports MSMEs", he revealed.

"The effective management of funds in ASBA and the timely refund of facilities by the hardworking people of Anambra state has encouraged development financial institutions and the government of Anambra state to provide more funds to support MSMEs in Anambra. This is why we are calling on Ndi Anambra to visit ASBA and grow their businesses. We will provide the necessary support, guide and training where necessary to ensure that you realize your dreams", he concluded.