N100m loan to help the poor in RiversHeadlines, Rivers, State News, Uncategorized Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
The less privileged in Rivers State can now start small-scale businesses that will improve their lives, thanks to N100m interest-free loan granted them by a Pentecostal church, the Omega Power Ministries (OPM), based in the state capital, Port-Harcourt.
The General Overseer of OPM, Apostle Chibuzor Gift Chinyere, at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Neighbourhood Microfinance Bank in Port Harcourt, said the initiative was part of efforts to discourage idleness and give back to the society.
He said the N100m came from OPM’s Charity Foundation, while reiterating that the church has carried out various empowerment programmes, including training and cash donations to the needy.
Chinyere said that the money, already deposited at the microfinance bank, would be managed by the financial institution.
He disclosed that when he was a cleaner at the airport many years ago, he wanted a loan of N5,000 from a bank, but he was not given because of lack of collateral. He said this unpleasant experience propelled him to assist others in similar situations.
The loan scheme, which will be in phases, will be granted to members of the church with business plans, which will be adequately monitored by officials of the microfinance bank, to ensure sustainability.
Chinyere said: “Many people have good business ideas, but they cannot access funds, because they do not have the collateral required by banks. Some of these people need only N100, 000 and their lives will change. We have budgeted N100 million for this project and it will run for many years.
“This loan is interest-free and we have selected 14 persons for the first phase. We found that some of them are into petty trading, while some are hawking. So, we decided to assist them with funds to keep them off the streets to enable them to settle down and do something more dignifying.
“We (the church) are paying all the interests the beneficiaries are supposed to pay, while the profits of the businesses they do are entirely theirs. If you are collecting N1 million, what we expect you to return is N1 million.”
The Managing Director of the microfinance bank, Mr. Folani Fawehinmi stated that the decision of the church to partner with the bank was a step in the right direction.
The managing director assured that the bank would ensure effective management of the fund, while urging other clerics and churches to emulate the OPM.
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs. Chidimma James, who was hawking sachet water in the city, said the loan has put an end to her suffering of moving around in the cold, heavy rain and in very hot weather. She will now open a shop, she said.
Another beneficiary, Monday Gokana, said he will now go into brick-making.
Pix caps: The General Overseer of Omega Power Ministries (OPM), Apostle Chibuzor Gift Chinyere, signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Neighbourhood Microfinance Bank in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, for interest-free, revolving N100 million loan for the less-privileged persons.
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