The federal government has unlocked a N1 billon special credit line, through the national enterprise development programme (NEDEP) for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and Cooperatives in Lagos State.

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The minister of industry, trade and investment, Mr Olusegun Aganga, said the direct micro-enterprise funding further demonstrated the commitment of the current administration to developing enterprises at the grass roots in order to create jobs, enhance growth and ultimately reduce poverty.

He said the NEDEP provided the necessary platform for the sustainable ongoing funding of micro enterprises, adding that the disbursement of the N1 billion loan to the MSMEs in Lagos was part of the ongoing MSME funding across the 36 states of the federation and would be in phases.

Aganga spoke in Lagos yesterday while awarding cheques to the beneficiaries of the first N100 million special credit line. The NEDEP is an initiative spearheaded by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and its three parastatals the Bank of Industry, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria and the Industrial Training Fund.

Aganga said the ministry, through the SMEDAN, had established approximately 3,800 cooperatives in Lagos State, noting that about 2,000 of these cooperatives would benefit from the special credit facility.

The beneficiaries are drawn from all the local governments in the state and cut across various activities, including manufacturing, agribusiness, retail trade and electrical works among others.

The loans were given at single-digit interest rates to the beneficiaries who also receive some form of training and skills development.

He said the national council on the MSMEs was working extensively with the CBN to ensure that the MSME Development Fund reached the intended beneficiaries in all the states of the federation.

The ministry is also working with micro finance banks and commercial banks to increase overall access to the fund.