By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA – THE Federal Government Sunday night said that it has launched a new initiative under the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), called the TraderMoni, which will empower two million petty traders between now and the end of the year.
The government explained that the aim for launching the scheme was to further enlarge its financial inclusion agenda for all Nigerians regardless of social class and economic status.
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande said that the scheme, which was launched last week in Lagos, would grant a minimum of 30,000 loans in each State of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
According to him, “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.
“In order to identify the beneficiaries, no less than 4,000 enumeration agents have been engaged by the Bank of Industry which is deploying the new scheme.
“TraderMoni 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.”
Continueing, the Presidential spokesman said, “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.
“The goal of the Buhari Administration is to use the TraderMoni 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 them loans.
“This administration is keen to ensure that such traders at that level are able to build their businesses and grow.
“TraderMoni was launched last Tuesday in five markets in Lagos State, with tens of thousands beneficiaries already.
“The Lagos markets already reached are Mushin, Ikotun, Agege, Ketu, and Abule Egba markets.
“The scheme will soon be taken to other states in the country, with Abia and Kano states next in line.
“Beneficiaries are already heaping praise on the Buhari administration for this initiative that will improve their businesses.”
He further stated that a trader in one of the Lagos markets, Anna Enwerem, thanked President Muhammadu 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,” she said.
The statement also said that another trader, Chief Mrs Mufiat Adewumi, a market women leader in Lagos, 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 TraderMoni 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.”