By Yinka Kolawole
THE Bank of Industry (BoI) has disbursed over N450 million micro credit loans to more than 7,000 beneficiaries under the Federal Government’s Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) in Ogun State.
Managing Director, BoI, Mr. Olukayode Pitan, made this disclosure during presentation of loan certificates to beneficiaries, adding that the Marketmoni loans cut across 130 associations in the State.
GEEP is one of the social intervention programmes (SIPs) of the Federal Government, executed by BoI. MarketMoni is a micro credit product under GEEP that facilitates easy access to interest-free loans for market traders, artisans, cooperatives, youth and farmers.
The BoI boss who was represented by the bank’s Executive Director, Micro Enterprise, Mrs. Toyin Adeniji, noted that statistics show over 80 percent of micro enterprises lack access to affordable credit. He said it is a major barrier to business growth, adding that even when loans are available, they come at very high cost to the borrower.
“The federal government set up a social intervention programme to provide access to affordable micro credit to existing micro businesses in Nigeria. GEEP provides non-interest rates loans of up to N100,000 to beneficiaries in four target segments which include market women, traders, artisans and farmers. The loans have tenor of 6 months, grace period of 2 weeks, weekly payment and a 5 per cent administrative fee payable in arrears. GEEP is being executed by BoI with a mandate to reach 1.6 million Nigerians in all 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Nigeria,” he stated.
In his remarks, Governor Ibikunle Amosun said micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are major catalysts for economic growth, noting however that MSMEs in Nigeria have not been able to reach their potentials due to lack of access to funds.
“Majority of the industry players in this sub-sector could hardly meet up with the stringent conditions attached to accessing funds from our conventional commercial banks. This is why the federal government has to come up with different interventions such as BoI and other specialised funding institutions,” he said.
Amosun asserted that GEEP will help to support and accelerate micro business activities and impact positively on the economic activities of the nation’s informal sectors which are the bedrock of an economy. He said the beauty of the Marketmoni programme is that it relieves the burden on the beneficiaries and also enables entrepreneurs to focus their energies on business growth.
He urged beneficiaries of the loan to be judicious in the use of the facility and also endeavour to pay back as it enables the programmes to remain sustainable and stimulate the economic activities at the base of pyramid. “Marketmoni is targeted at several millions of Nigerians, therefore only our positive attitude will make it work. Let us take the advantage of this affordable finance to grow our business, to break poverty barriers and push the frontiers of inclusive growth and financial advancement,” he stated.