June 12, 2024

The Claver Magazine

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AMEN National President, Comrade Iche, Faults SMEDAN DG, Dr. Charles Odii, Over N7B Claim For SMEs

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…..Describes Dr. Odii’s Claim As Hoax

Peterclaver Egbochue

The President of National Association of Micro Entrepreneurs of Nigeria, AMEN, Comrade Prince Saviour Ichie, has described the claim by the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, (SMEDAN) Director General, Dr. Charles Odii, that the agency has secured over N7 billion for Small and Medium Businesses and created 15,000 jobs in three months across Nigeria as hoax, and false intended to deceive Nigerians.

Comrade Iche stated this at a press conference held in Lagos on Monday on behalf of the overall body of Business Members Association, (BMO) comprising MAN, AMEN, ASBON, NANSI, NANSIME, maintaining that none of the associations stated here received the said grant.

He challenged the DG to disclose the identities and addresses of those who benefitted from the said amount which was said to have been a milestone achieved in 100 days under the leadership of Dr. Odii.

Comrade Iche who is the national president of AMEN therefore urged the Federal Government to direct the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, the ICPC and other related agencies, to immediately investigate the DG’s claim for corruption, stressing that no member had collected any money from the agency.

In his words, “The reason for this press conference is that there is a report by SMEDAN that the Government has given micro entrepreneurs N7 billion and created 15, 000 jobs. We have over 20,000 members, we have group chats and our members are aware of this press conference. After interacting with our members accross board, we can say for a fact that no one is aware of the said money and no entrepreneur got anything. So we are asking who are the entrepreneurs given the money, we need their names and addresses to confirm.

“We know that the Government will eventually release some money but the people charged with the responsibility of disbursing the funds are the major problem.

“We have ghost entrepreneurs as well and as we all know, micro entrepreneurs are the bedrock of any economy and the largest employers of labour. So, now that micro businesses are closing down due to the current harsh economic environment in Nigeria, how do Nigerians survive?

“We are very surprised over the report  because on 20th January, 2024 we had a stakeholders meeting at SMEDAN office in Lagos State and nothing concerning money was discussed.

“The DG is not helping in growing micro entrepreneurs. When we went to the IDC (Industrial Development Centre) in Ikorodu, which has 1 acre of land, we asked for the land so that micro entrepreneurs can build factories but instead the land was given to land enchroachers ,who now build houses on it which is not what the land was meant for.

“Dollar is going up everyday as a result of our inability to produce anything in the country and this and many other similar situations have left us frustrated amidst the high prices of raw materials needed to produce compared to 2015. We can only survive based on government intervention which is not even coming to us.

“When we heard the report of the money given to micro entrepreneurs, we called everyone we know and none had an idea. My members are increasing daily. We have 2000plus members in Lagos alone.

“The government has lied again about offering us loan. So we are asking the  SMEDAN DG to come out and tell us who got the money, addresses and formula for distribution of the loan. We are ready to take a legal action against him if he does not bring proof.”