The Edo Government says it has received requests for loans of about N1.8 billion from operators of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs).
Mr Abdul Oroh, the State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)in Benin on Sunday.
Oroh said that the requests were sequel to the recent approval of N2 billion SMEs fund for the state by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
He said that disbursement of the fund would soon commence, adding that the state government had already paid the interest on the loan.
The commissioner said that a beneficiary could apply for as much as N5 million, pointing out that the loan would be interest-free and revolving.
He said that those granted such loans in the past that had not paid back, would not benefit from the current one.
Oroh, however, said that others that paid up theirs and performed well could re-apply for new loans.

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He said that the disbursement and management of the new loans would be by a micro finance bank in the state.

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The commissioner told NAN that N 565 million was approved for the state in 2015 out of which only N244. 9 million was disbursed.

He disclosed that 33 loan requests were cancelled last year due to the failure of the applicants to provide certain necessary information about their enterprises.

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Oroh disclosed that the fund had created more than 2000 jobs in the state, with 943 direct and 300 indirect jobs created in the first phase.
The commissioner said that 303 direct and 665 indirect jobs were created in the last phase that ended in September 2015.

He further explained that about 21 SMEs operators involved in poultry, soap making, water bottling, bakery and saw milling benefitted from the loan. (NAN)