It was with fanfare and joy that women in the State of Osun trooped to the Freedom Park venue of empowerment programme of the state where 18,000 of them received N40,000 each totaling N600million.
The programme had in attendance the First Ladies of Osun, Oyo and Lagos States, Alhaja Sherifat Aregbesola, Florence Ajimobi and Abimbola Fashola respectively.
At the official launch and presentation of cheques to the women beneficiaries, the Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, reiterated his administration’s commitment to eradicating poverty in the state.
Aregbesola observed that people’s welfare must be central in the programmes of any serious government.
He affirmed that it is in recognition of this that his government collaborated with Grooming Micro-Finance, Lagos so as to fast track attainment of poverty alleviation goal as enshrined in his government’s six-point agenda.
He stated that his government will not detract from its programmes that give quality life to the people.
He averred that if women in the state are economically active but financially handicapped, there is no way they would be able to contribute to the economic growth of the state. He said this is which is why government came to their aids through the loans.
He said: “As government, we have realised that development is incomplete without consideration to the human aspect.
“Ours is a combination of both infrastructural and human development and today’s ceremony is an attestation to this fact.
“We are committed to making our Omoluabi State a subject of envy among the comity of states and a place worthy of living for all and sundry.
“We have extended government presence across 30 local governments and the Area Office of the state and complete a lot of capital projects some of which are currently being commissioned and which are there for everyone to see.”
He said his government has achieved great feat in the area of poverty alleviation, which according to him, is second to no other one.
He noted that his government’s collaboration with various financial organisations has brought smile to faces of every house in the state.
He promised that his government will continue to support all laudable intervention programmes so that government’s commitment towards poverty alleviation will be fully realised in not too distant future.
In his opening remark, the Executive Director of Grooming Loans Scheme, Mr. Adesoji Tayo, pointed out that the Grooming Centre is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) founded seven years ago to address the near absence of financial services for the large population of economically active poor people.
He said the assistance will afford such women to engage in small trading and micro productive activities in many parts of the country.
“We operate from 259 branches with staff strength of 1,362, we have 374,145 clients. Just three weeks ago, we achieved a billion Naira loan disbursement per week.
“I will also like to state that the programme is not a social welfare or government hand-out, it is not political settlement,” he told the gathering.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Rural Development and Community Affairs, Hon. Kunle Ige, said through the empowerment programme, 18, 000 women were beneficiaries of the first disbursement.
Through this loan, economically active poor people and who are vulnerable and engage in small scale commercial activities, are supported and empowered.
“Available data have shown that majority of our women especially at the rural communities are economically active but are constrained financially.
“This is why the current administration has committed so much to poverty alleviation interventions to reduce this ugly trend and make life more meaningful to her citizenry, especially the women,” Ige said