With the clear realisation that micro-credit is a crucial element towards the development and improvement of quality of life, Addax Petroleum Nigeria Limited as a company has put in place a micro-credit scheme designed to provide seed funds on a revolving basis to encourage rural dwellers to productively engage in small enterprise within their host communities. The micro-credits would provide access to seed funds for the rural women drawn from communities hosting its OML 124 operations as encouragement for them to engage in, develop and grow micro and small businesses which would enhance their self-reliance and independence. To this end, a total of N37 million has been set aside to objective as about 868 women divided into two parts will be benefitting from the project.
In the first phase, 433 women from seven communities in Izombe in Oguta Local Government of Imo State, which include Amakpu, Eziorsu, Ndioko, Ofekata III, Orsu-Obodo, Ugbele and Umuamaka, were presented their cheques in a colourful ceremony in Owerri, the State capital where a total of N27.6 million was disbursed as seed money to these rural women. In an address presented by the Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Addax Petroleum Nigeria Limited, Mr. Cornelius Zegelaar said the goal was to create and support entrepreneurship, improve the host communitiesâ€™ livelihood and uplift the entire communities such that beneficiaries are enabled to take advantage of the diverse economic opportunities within their local communities.
Zegelaar who was represented by the Deputy Managing Director, Corporate Services, Mr. Tunji Mayaki also said that NNPC/Addax are funding the micro-credit scheme because â€œwe believe that access to formal financial institutions to fund a given entrepreneurial activity at the micro and small level was challenging as banks would simply not extend loans to rural dwellers with little or no assets for reasons ranging from requirement of collaterals to high interest rates that erode profits generated from business venturesâ€ The Addax Petroleum MD said that apart from agricultural activities and the civil service, the people of their host communities, especially women, engage in petty trading which requires seed money to start, and sustain such enterprises; this category of the productive population are the beneficiaries of the micro-credit scheme being launched and we believe that they will be committed to their trades and grow the businessesâ€.
The women, who had selected their businesses and received adequate training to handle all the processes, were properly guided through the employment of the services of an NGO, the Enterprises for Development International (EfDI),
On their part, the managing director of the Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (ISOPADEC), Henry Okafor and the commissioner representing Imo State on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) board, Kierian Uche Egbu commended Addax Petroleum for the gesture, which they variously describes as â€˜touching the heartâ€™ of the oil host communities.