In a determined bid to further enlarge its financial inclusion agenda for all Nigerians regardless of social class and economic status, the Muhammadu Buhari administration has launched a new initiative under the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP).
The initiative, called the Trader Moni, will empower two million petty traders between now and the end of the year.
A statement issued by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity in the Office of the Acting President, Laolu Akande, said the scheme, which was launched last week in Lagos, would grant a minimum of 30,000 loans in each state and the Federal Capital Territory.
“All together the 2 million mark is expected to be attained on or before the end of this year, with petty traders in Lagos, Kano and Abia States set to be the first round of beneficiaries to draw the collateral free loans.
“In addition to the 30,000 loans per state, states with larger populations like Lagos and Kano are expected to get more than 30,000 loans. Across the country, especially in the pilot states about 500,000 potential beneficiaries have so far been enumerated,” the statement said.
It noted that in order to identify the beneficiaries, no less than 4000 enumeration agents had been engaged by the Bank of Industry which is deploying the new scheme.
“Trader Moni is designed to help petty traders expand their trade through the provision of collateral free loans of N10,000. The loans are repayable within a period of six months.
“Under the scheme, beneficiaries can get access to a higher facility ranging from N15,000 to N50,000 when they repay N10,000 within the stipulated time period,” it further explained.
“The goal of the Buhari Administration is to use the Trader Moni to take financial inclusion down to the grassroots, the bottom of the ladder, considering the contribution of petty traders to economic development. The Federal Government is also aware of the fact that many of the petty traders don’t have what the commercial banks require to grant loans.
“This administration is keen to ensure that such traders at that level are able to build their businesses and grow,” it added.
Trader Moni which was launched last Tuesday in five markets in Lagos State with tens of thousands beneficiaries already have reached Mushin, Ikotun, Agege, Ketu, and Abule Egba markets.
According to the statement, the scheme will soon be taken to other states in the country, with Abia and Kano states next in line.
Meanwhile, beneficiaries are already heaping praises on the Buhari administration for the initiative that will improve their businesses.
“A trader in one of the Lagos markets, Anna Enwerem, thanked President Buhari for the initiatives. ‘I sell clothes. This N10,000 would do a lot for me and my children. I like this programme so much. I will pay the loan before six months’ time. Before I didn’t believe it, but now that I have received my money I believe.”
A market women leader in Lagos, Chief Mrs Mufiat Adewumi, said it will help ordinary Nigerians who cannot have access to commercial banks’ credit facilities because they don’t have collateral.
“We are happy about the Trader Moni because this is what we have been expecting for long, that the government should assist the masses, especially the traders. We thank the Federal Government so much.”