She solicited her support for the Trade Fair and other programmes of the Chamber as follows:
- That the office of the First Lady should support the Trade Fair in the area of sponsorship.
- To facilitate the participation of women entrepreneurs from across Edo State.
- To help to influence participation of all the Local Government Councils to exhibit the business opportunities in their areas for the purposes of improving rural business.
- To personally join the Executive Governor to declare the Trade Fair open.
- To support BENCCIMA initiative to collaborate with NIFOR to organize oil palm producers, processors and traders into clusters and assisting them to improve their businesses.
- To support BENCCIMA human capital development programme aimed at helping MSMEs to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and ability.
- To use her good offices to assist in attracting Bank of Industry (BOI) funding and support for BENCCIMA MSME businesses.
- To support Chamber’s research and development aimed at creating database for functional MSMEs as well as products and raw materials location in the State.
- To support BENCCIMA initiative to establish a Health Centre at the Trade Fair Complex to serve the Trade Fair and the people in the neighbourhood.
On this note, the President expressed the willingness of the Chamber to partner with the Office of the First Lady on business initiatives that would further move Edo State forward.
RESPONSE OF THE FIRST LADY, MRS. BETSY OBASEKI
The First Lady appreciated the Chamber for the visit. She requested that the Chamber should articulate and oblige her with what BENCCIMA has been doing in Edo State and its plans for the future of the State. She expressed the willingness of her office to partner with the Chamber on laudable initiatives for the progress of Edo State. The First Lady stated that her husband, Governor Godwin Obaseki was running a progressive administration that opens opportunities for the business sector to flourish. She said that the Chamber should have been in the forefront of the Alaghodaro programme but it is not performing well. She enjoined the Chamber to wake-up from its slumber and begin to do the needful.
On Bank of Industry (BOI) funding of MSME projects, the First Lady said that the bank is available to serve operators in the MSME sector. She said that the Bank of Industry was in partnership with Edo State Government for counterpart funding of MSMEs in the State. The First Lady lamented that many of those who have benefited from the BOI/State Government funds refused to pay back. She stressed that such attitude has constrained the programme because the Executive Governor has requested the officers including officials of the Bank of Industry that were involved in the disbursement of the loan to recover all the outstanding funds before the counterpart funding agreement would continue.
However, she said that MSME operators that meet the requirement of BOI could apply for consideration of the bank. On this final note, the First Lady promised to support the President to succeed as a woman leader of the Chamber, the voice of Business in Edo State.
Members of the delegation of the Chamber on the visit were - Evang (Dr) Mrs. H.E. Atekha-Odemwingie, JP, President -Delegation Leader, Chief S.U. Ekwenuke -Past President/NACCIMA Honorary Vice President, Mr. Andy Edobor -Past President, Engr. Omoregie Godwin Eki -Vice President, Lady Taiye Agbontaen -Treasurer, Sir (Dr) B.J. Braie, Sir Femi Ajijala, Pharm Ajibo Christian, Mrs. Christy Egharevba –BENCCIMA member, Rev. Kenny Osifo – BENCCIMA Member, Imalingmhe John Yesufu – Director General