• Sunday, April 14, 2024
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BusinessDay

‘Rivers needs N183bn credit for active poor by 2015’

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Rivers State will need to lend a whopping N183 billion to estimated 1.83 million active poor by the year 2015, a study on the microfinance market in Rivers State has revealed.

This is as the state governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has announced that his administration has already released N2 billion through the Rivers State Microfinance Agency (RIMA) to fund the businesses of the economically active poor.

Beyond money, however, the governor told the people on Thursday March 14, 2013 at Okrika town that the successful restoration of peace and security in the oil-rich state is the single most important factor for the rapid growth of the economy. The state has just been upgraded by both Fitch and Standard & Poor’s to BB-/AA with stable outlook.

Speaking at one of his series of town hall meetings, the governor revealed how he tackled insecurity, cult violence and militants which had ravaged the state and driven away businesses before his coming to power in October 2007.

He said the state government was already used to paying between N250 million and half a billion naira to free any important kidnap victim, and that this fueled the racket. He said he had to put his feet down and said, “Look from today henceforth, no more payment for ransom”. He sat down with the army, the police and other security agencies and agreed on a plan of action that worked. This brought sanity to the state but brought trouble for him as a person, he enthused, as he pointed at the Okochiri ‘evil forest’ which haboured the most vicious militants in that axis those days.

A survey conducted by credit experts at RIMA indicated that by 2015, some 3 million people in the oil-rich state would live below poverty line, earning about one dollar a day. Also, BusinessDay gathered from the experts that about 60 percent of the poor would need financial intervention in the form of micro-loans to do business.

The strategic survey showed that 80 percent of the poor or 1.6 million will reside in the rural areas while over 370,000 will live in the garden city. Out of those in the city, 75 percent would be non-indigenes while 85 percent of the rural poor would be indigenes.

 

IGNATIUS CHUKWU