Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, has urged women in the state to form cooperative societies in order to take charge of the local economy.
To this end, the governor said his administration will provide soft loans for women without stringent conditions to encourage them to own businesses and boost the state’s economy.
He noted that this is in furtherance of the government’s grants to 210 small scale business owners in the 105 wards of the state monthly.
Senator Diri stated this yesterday at this year’s Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area (KOLGA) Annual Thanksgiving Day in Sampou.
He said the initiative was among several other empowerment schemes put in place by his administration to enable Bayelsans, particularly women become self-reliant.
Governor Diri explained that the soft loan was in addition to the N100 million monthly grant to small and medium scale entrepreneurs across the 105 wards in the state.
According to him, other empowerment schemes of the government include the ICT empowerment programme for 8,000 Bayelsa youths in the eight local government areas under the Diri Digital Entrepreneurship Empowerment Programme (D-DEEP), more than 400 youths already trained in integrated farming at the CSS Global Farms in Nasarawa State, presentation of start-up packs to 366 youths trained under the Sustainable Development Goals programme as well as about 2,000 trained under the Douye Diri Skills Acquisition Programme.
His words: “Development is two-pronged – infrastructure and human capacity development. Under my government, we are doing something in infrastructure development. We are also doing something in the area of human capacity development.
“We want our women to form cooperatives. Government will give them soft loans so that dependence on government will reduce.
“Let us think along economic indices as a people. The moment you are free to do your own business, you will become free economically. We are poised to ensure that our people will not continue to live in poverty.”
Diri, who also spoke on the importance of thanksgiving, implored the people to re-dedicate themselves to God.
He expressed gratitude to the General Overseer, Royal House of Grace Church International, Apostle David Zilly-Aggrey, for instituting a special thanksgiving day for the KOLGA people.
He said January 17 was set aside annually for the thanksgiving, noting that the programme would continue to be a part of the KOLGA people.
Diri also expressed appreciation to people of the state for their support to his administration and urged them to continue to pray for the progress of the state.
In a sermon, Apostle David Zilly-Aggrey gave a brief historical perspective of KOLGA, recalling the exploits of some of its heroes such as late Maj. Isaac Adaka Boro.
He stressed the need for people to know their history as well as sacrifices made by founding fathers for the growth and development of the area.
While applauding Senator Diri for his administration’s infrastructural transformation of the state, Apostle Zilly-Aggrey equally underscored the need to nurture the youths across Ijaw nation to become leaders of tomorrow.