Image: Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson
Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson has inaugurated the state-owned Izon-Ibe Microfinance Bank, with a call on investors to transact business with the bank to promote self-reliance and the creation of wealth.
He also appreciated retirees for their show of maturity and understanding over the terrible financial difficulties facing the state and assured them of his administration’s commitment to paying their pension emoluments against all odds this month.
The Governor, who opened an account with the bank with a deposit of N100,000 shortly after declaring it open, said the financial institution was established to promote entrepreneurship through direct and easy access to start-up capital for small and medium scale businesses.
He urged people of the state, particularly traders and civil servants working in the rural areas to open accounts with the bank, which has branches in the headquarters of all the local government areas to avoid the cost of moving to Yenagoa to avail themselves of banking services.
To this end, the governor said government would make N200 million available to the bank, N25 million per local government area, to enable the IMB offer loan facilities to willing small and medium scale entrepreneurs to borrow and do business.
While congratulating the Managing Director of Izon-Ibe Micro Finance Bank, Mr Ifiemi Ikpaikpai and his team for their hard work in bringing the initiative to reality, Dickson stressed that the products already developed by the bank, some of which include, Borrow as You Save, Staff Salary Advance, Thrift Deposit Account and Agric/Allied Loans, would complement the government’s efforts at creating sustainable wealth in the state.
“The Head of Service and the management of the bank will work out modalities, by which all salaries of workers in the lowest category of public service who live and go to their work places in the rural areas, will open accounts in the headquarters of their various local government areas for their salaries, to make it easier for them.
“They should set up a special scheme for the welfare and benefit of civil servants. If they open an account, create a product for them. And for every civil servant who opens an account, I hereby direct that this bank to ensure that in the event of any delay in salaries, you will process an advance for that civil servant with minimum delay and restriction.”
Earlier in his welcome address, Ikpaikpai, stressed that, the bank which has an expansive branch network and rural spread, will serve as a strong catalyst to boost production in critical sectors of agriculture, commerce, healthcare and education.
According to him, the idea of establishing the bank, which presently has become the pioneer state-owned microfinance bank in the Niger Delta region, was mooted in 2013, adding that apart stimulating growth in the local economy, activities of the bank would also help to reduce the dependency syndrome that has stifled creative thinking in youths.
In their separate goodwill messages, the Director of Other Financial Institutions Supervision Department, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), represented by Mr. Olubayo Akinyemi and the Managing Director of the Bank of Agriculture, who was also represented at the occasion by Dr. Sunday Audu, commended Dickson for his foresight in establishing the grassroots-oriented financial institution.
While assuring the state government of their preparedness to partner with the Izon-Ibe Microfinance bank, they urged clients of the bank to make judicious use of the bank’s facilities.
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