Oil Firm, Rivers Community Partner On SMEs Development

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French oil-giant, Total E & P, has given a further boost of economic empowerment to its OML58 host communities through the promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The new initiative would provide a leverage to access needed finance that would enable them form and develop their businesses without the hurdles of collateral commonly needed to obtain loans.

At a media briefing entitled, “Partnership on SME Development In Egi Community”, held in Port Harcourt, Wednesday, the Deputy Managing Director of Total E & P, Mr Nicolas Brunet explained that the new initiative is aimed at encouraging the growth of local entrepreneurs and job creation.

The Deputy MD, who was represented at the event, by the Executive General Manager Port Harcourt District Administration, Mr Joseph Ajilore said the target recipients are entrepreneurs within the communities who have shown commitment in their trade and also have capacity to expand their businesses, create jobs and enhance their profitability.

Noting that friable enterprises and creation of decent jobs are the sure routes out of poverty, Brunet said, there was need to promote initiatives that would support local entrepreneurial development in increasing economic opportunities and unlocking potentials of youths to contribute towards growth of local economies.
He appealed for support and needed encouragement of all stakeholders within the communities for the success in stimulating economic activities for the well being of local communities.

Highlight of the event was the testimonies of three potential beneficiaries, Sarah Umesi, Hopeson Dike and Odinaka Thomas, who disclosed  their individual successes recorded in the areas of catering, interior decoration and agriculture and expressed optimism that the new SME programme of Total would provide them needed finance to expand their frontiers.

They lauded Total for its efforts towards providing economic support saying the new initiative would increase economic activities, create wealth and reduce the unemployment problem and its associated negative implications in the area.

The acting President General of Egi Peoples Assembly, Mr Ejikeme Oji,
commended Total for its latest effort which he said would further boost economic development and increase the cordiality between the company and Egi people.

The Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Managing Director of Fortis Microfinance Bank Plc, Mr Jero Omare-Ogah said the bank, as a partner in the new initiative would increase access to needed finance and guide the local entrepreneurs in their business expansion.

Source: The Tide

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