Sterling Bank Plc, in keeping to its mission of empowering the low cadre tourism entrepreneurs in Ekiti State with the low-interest facility, recently credited the accounts of 202 tourism entrepreneurs in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital.
The disbursement of the facility was the second phase of the Sterling Bank Tourism Development Fund Initiative, a product of Sterling Bank Plc, which was facilitated by the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the Ekiti State governor on Tourism Development, Wale Ojo-Lanre, to enable tourism practitioners access fund to boost their trade and expand their businesses.
At the disbursement ceremony, which held at the Conference Hall of Ekiti State Ministry of Women Affairs, Block V, Lot II, Ekiti State Secretariat, the state Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism, Prof Rasaki Ojo-Bakare, who was the special guest at the event, said that Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi was keenly interested in boosting the economic activities of all stakeholders within the ambit of arts, culture tourism, and hence, is seeking a way of opening doors of financial platforms where the practitioners can leverage on low-interest facilities.
Praising Sterling Bank for its interest in the development of arts, culture and tourism sector in Ekiti State, Ojo-Bakare called on the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the loan, adding that it would not only shore up the economy of the state, but put them in firmer financial stead to expand their businesses.
Ojo-Bakare also commended the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Ekiti State on Tourism Development, Mr Wale Ojo-Lanre, for his innovative tendencies at driving the tourism sector in Ekiti State, not only for visibility, but for economic viability, even as he lauded the synergy between the Office of the SSA, Tourism Development, Bureau of Employment, Labour and Productivity being led by Mr Lanre Ogunjobi and the Special Assistant to the governor on Informal Sector, Mr Oroya Aladeloye on this scheme.
Divisional Head of Retail and Customer Banking at Sterling Bank Plc, Mr Shina Atilola, pointed out that the soft loan scheme to tourism entrepreneurs is strategically conceived by Sterling Bank Managing Director, Mr Abubakar Suleiman, to provide a platform where the low cadre tourism entrepreneurs can access fund of low interest.
He insisted Sterling Bank’s mission was not only to provide loan for the beneficiaries, but also network their services, craft items and provide to buyers and patrons.
Atilola pointed out that Sterling Bank is out to empower and enhance the business and economic endeavours of tourism practitioners and stakeholders, noting that the sector encompasses almost everything that a typical traveller will need in a strange land.
Commending Governor Fayemi for being pro-poor and pro-masses in his drive at placing the economic base of Ekiti State on a sustainable pedestal, by aligning it with low cadre entrepreneurs and for putting proactive and positive-minded persons attending the tourism sector, Atilola also lauded the efforts of the SSA on Tourism Development to Fayemi, Mr Ojo-Lanre, for his doggedness and resourcefulness by networking with the DG, ELP, Ogunjobi, SA to Fayemi on the Informal Sector, Aladeloye, at making the scheme work and walk in Ekiti State.
He therefore called on the beneficiaries to be faithful and prompt on repayment schedules, as this would accelerate and pave the way quickly for others, as the scheme targets 2000 beneficiaries in Ekiti State.
Two beneficiaries of the initiative, Bola Hamzat and Eniola Eyinafe, lauded Governor Fayemi for networking tourism stakeholders and entrepreneurs in the state with Sterling Bank and expressed happiness that the soft loan would help in creating employment opportunities in the state.
SSA on Tourism Development, Ojo-Lanre commended the Sterling Bank team, especially Mrs Abiola Adelana, of Sterling Bank Tourism Desk, for her goal-getting strides at pushing the tourism vision of the bank efficiently to Ekiti State, even as he lauded the Divisional Head of Product Proposition at Sterling Bank, Me Gbenga Adegoke, and the entire staff of the bank in Ado Ekiti, led by Mr Lekan Afuye, for the success of the first phase disbursement to 90 beneficiaries and the commencement of the second batch of disbursement to 202 beneficiaries in the state.