•    Recovery for first phase starts in March

Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has approved the disbursement of funds to 9,000 fresh beneficiaries of the state’s interest-free micro-finance loans for petty traders (Owo Isowo), a component of the Kwara State Social Investment Programme (KWASSIP), a statement has said.

The disbursement begins on Monday. 

The Governor said it becomes a priority in the face of the wide acceptance and impacts the scheme has recorded across the state in aiding petty trading and wealth redistribution. 

"This administration prioritises public feedback a lot. The leadership of the Kwara State Marketers have appealed that beneficiaries should be expanded for maximum impacts. The Governor has granted their request," according to the statement signed by Mohammed Brimah, Ag. General Manager, Kwara State Social Investment Programmes (KWASSIP). 

"We announced September last year to disburse to 21, 263 petty traders in Kwara. Now, we are looking to round it up to 30,000. The fresh disbursement is supposed to cover about 9,000 beneficiaries. 

"The figure could go up a little. A few of the 21, 263 traders earlier enumerated couldn't claim the fund due to various reasons, including change of location, death, wrong bank details, among other reasons. We are looking to fix new names to take up the spaces (of the missing beneficiaries). We have been working with the Kwara State Marketers stakeholders, including the Iyalojas and Babalojas of each market on the enumeration to arrive at the figure." 

Brimah added that the recovery of the N10,000 interest- free loan from the first set of beneficiaries will begin in March across the state. 

"Trader money is not free money. It is an interest-free loan of a minimum of N10,000 to support petty traders in upscaling their businesses. Beneficiaries are to begin repayment after six months of collection in bits that are comfortable for them. For the people captured in the first phase, recovery starts in March. We will communicate them appropriately. We are critically working with the leadership of the market women and other stakeholders to fashion a system that is okay by everyone."

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