Traders in Akwa Ibom State have expressed deep gratitude to Governor Udom Emmanuel for the N2 billion interest-free loan granted to them under the Traders Cooperative Societies to expand their business activities.
Traders, while counting their blessings under Emmanuel, also cited the nine newly built markets spread across nine local government areas in the state over the past six years.
Speaking on behalf of traders at the Nigerian Traders Summit and Trade Expo, held on Saturday at Itam Market in Uyo, the capital of Akwa Ibom State, the Special Assistant to the Governor for Trade and Market Issues, Akparawa Idoreyin Raphael said, “The benefits our traders have received from the government are many and varied. And include processing equipment to produce and package their products for sale. with good profit.
According to him, “This Traders Summit aims to bring our traders together to assess our position and rub their minds on the way forward for greater trading opportunities.”
Raphaël explained that the tour of the different senatorial districts undertaken by the merchants exposed them to better business opportunities in the areas of exchange of ideas, localization of certain products with a comparative advantage on cost and needs between others.
He said he was pleased with the caliber of resource people who graced the summit, noting that traders have learned so much about equipping themselves to excel.
However, Akparawa Idoreyin Raphael took the opportunity to passionately petition Governor Udom Emmanuel to release another batch of interest-free loans to help cushion the effects of COVID-19 losses suffered by traders.
Speaking in a keynote address on the occasion, Elder Asuquo Jonah, President of the Akwa Ibom State Cooperative Federation, who spoke on the theme: “Growth of an inclusive economy, the cooperative way “, explained that the role of cooperatives in economic development is community-based and rooted in flexible democracy and have a participatory involvement that makes it suitable for economic development.
“The process of developing and maintaining a cooperative involves the same process of developing and promoting community spirit, identity and social organization.
“Cooperatives are playing an increasingly important role in poverty reduction, job creation, economic growth and social development,” he said.