By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya has flagged off the distribution of five hundred million Naira (N500,000,000) as support grants to various business groups in Gombe State to help them rebuild their businesses and overcome the effect of recession occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a statement signed by the Director-General (Press Affairs)
Government House Gombe, Ismaila Uba Misilli, made available to our correspondent on Sunday, this gesture is coming under the Gombe State COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus, GO-CARES, which is an intervention programme of the state government.
Speaking at the flag off ceremony, the governor said, his administration is fully committed to addressing socio-economic challenges affecting the people of the state which was the idea behind the domestication of the Nigerian COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus, NG-CARES of the Federal Government in Gombe State where more than 8.5 billion Naira was budgeted to support 288,700 households, farmers, small scale businesses across the nooks and crannies of the state to mitigate and cushion the adverse effects of COVID-19 pandemic which wreaked havoc on socioeconomic life of communities world over.
He said, since the flag-off of the programme in July last year, GO-CARES spent about 3.4 billion Naira through various interventions and relief packages reaching thousands of vulnerable families and businesses.
“So far, 147,666 indigenes of Gombe State have benefitted from the GO-CARES and many more will come onboard as many packages are underway,” he noted.
The governor presented a cheque of 500 million Naira to the representatives of over 100 business communities, assuring that the distribution starts immediately.
“Ours is a grant, not a loan, and the allocation of this huge sum is a proof of how important we take businesses owing to the role they play in the growth and development of our dear state”.
The governor observed that the development agenda his administration is vigorously pursuing through intensive investment in infrastructures and human capital development has created a conducive atmosphere for businesses to thrive, citing the road network in the industrial cluster in Nasarawo and Gombe main market; installation of solar powered hybrid street lights, improvement in security among others.
“My government is a businesses-friendly government and our policies are geared towards benefitting the common man. We believe that the formal sector alone cannot support our economy and provide the needed prosperity to our teeming populace. Economic development is a two-way process involving both public and private sectors working together.
“It is against this backdrop that we are undertaking an 18 billion Naira project, the Muhammadu Buhari Industrial park in Dadin Kowa which will employ hundreds of thousands of youths and support numerous businesses within and outside Gombe State”, he added.
Governor Inuwa urged the various business groups to vote for the APC candidates at the forthcoming Gubernatorial and State Assembly Elections in the state for the complete cycle of purposeful leadership which will pave way for the actualisation of many developmental projects in the state including the long-awaited Kolmani Integrated Project.
He called on all the beneficiaries to make good use of the grants by supporting their respective businesses for the development of Gombe State, enjoining them and all people of Gombe State, in general, to conduct themselves peacefully as they go out next Saturday to vote, maintaining that peace is precious and preserving it is the responsibility of all.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Commissioner of Trade, Industry and Tourism, Hon. Nasiru Aliyu said, Inuwa-led administration would continue to provide a favourable atmosphere for businesses upholding its revered status of being No. 1 in the ease of doing business.
Also in his remarks, Commissioner of Youths Development, Hon. Abubakar Aminu Musa said GO-CARES has saved many families and businesses across the state through its various packages, urging the beneficiaries to support the continuation of the programme by reelecting Governor Inuwa Yahaya for the second term.
Responding on behalf of the benefiting communities, Alh. Sunusi Abdullahi Mai Agogo; Chairman of Inter- Local Markets Traders Association, Alh. Uba Abdullahi; Chairman Women in Business, Dr. Eliza Danladi: Chairman Amalgamated Traders Association Association, Alh. Abba Bill Gates said Governor Inuwa has fulfilled promises he made to support business communities, saying that they are grateful for the gesture and will make good use of the grants.
They pledged their continued solidarity to the governor, promising to pay him back handsomely in the forthcoming elections for the sustainability of the interventions and the interest of Gombe State.
“Let’s unite for Inuwa and champion his course for the good of our businesses and the good of Gombe State.”
Other dignitaries present at the event included: The Deputy Governor, Dr Mannasah Daniel Jatau, Speaker Gombe State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Abubakar Mohammed Luggerewo, Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Ibrahim Abubakar Njodi, Head of Civil Service, Alh. Bappyo Yahaya, Commissioners, Special Advisers, and Leaders of various business communities, among others.