Enugu - The Enugu State Executive Council has approved the payment of N465 million as its counterpart fund for the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) development in the state.
The state’s Commissioner for Information, Chuks Ugwoke made this known to newsmen at the end of the State Executive Council meeting in Enugu on Wednesday.
Ugwoke said the amount represented 0.5 per cent of the state’s 2014 budget in compliance with the 2010 SME law.
He explained that the Bank of Industry (BOI) would match the money with the Federal Governments’ contribution and distribute to SME operators in the state.
Ugwoke said the council also approved N600 million for the implementation of the 2014 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Conditional Grant Scheme projects in six local government areas of the state.
The commissioner said the projects would cover health, education water and sanitation as well as agro and processing businesses.
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He listed the benefitting local government areas to include Enugu North, Enugu South, Udenu, Igboeze North, Nkanu East and Aninri LGA.
“The implementation of MDG projects is a tripartite arrangement between the Federal, Enugu State Governments and the benefitting council areas.”
“Federal Government contributes 50 per cent, state will get 30 per cent representing N600million while the benefitting LGA will contribute 20 per cent which also represents N400 million,” he said.
The Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Dr Jude Akubuilo, said the benefitting SMEs must meet BOI criteria to be able to access the funds.
According to him, the governor approved that the interest rate for the state governments’ component of the fund be waved to boost small businesses in the state.
“For one to five million naira, you do not need guarantors but from N5 million to N10million, you will get guarantors”, he said.
Akubuilo said the state government was planning a one stop shop for taxes and investments in the state.
“When the one stop shop for taxes and investment is set up, there will be a tax desk inside the one stop investment centre where all the ministries collecting taxes will be present.”
“This will help to resolve the issue of multiple taxations,” he said.