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Published On: Wed, Oct 10th, 2018

FG disburses N15.18bn interest-free loans

The Federal Government through Government Empowerment & Enterprise Programme (GEEP) has disbursed N15.183 billion in interest-free loans to over 300,000 market women, traders, artisans, farmers across all 36 States of the country and the FCT, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has disclosed.

Speaking at the 9th presidential quarterly business forum, in Abuja, he noted 56 per cent of interest-free loans ranging from N50,000 to N350,000 went to women.

The Vice President added that Trader Moni programme, which is targeted the millions of petty traders, is one of the most crucial components of expanding opportunity for millions of Nigerian traders by giving micro-credit to the bottom of the trading pyramid.

“This is the largest segment of our working population, and when you look at their inventory, it is no more than N2,000 or ranges between N5,000 – N10, 000. But they are an important part of the value chain of most goods. I have been to some of the markets where we have given the N10, 000 loan and it is just incredible how N10, 000 can make such a huge difference. We are doing a lot of the testimonies now,” he maintained.

Prof. Osinbajo explained that under the Trader Moni Scheme, the government will be disbursing microcredit to 2 million petty traders across the country, adding that it started by giving them N10,000 and theyare expected to pay back within six months;  give them N15,000 and then N20,000 until they graduate into the GEEP programme.

By giving them credit to replenish and increase their inventories, we give them a stronger chance, to earn more, while they also service the value chain that they are a part of. But more importantly, we bring them into the formal sector, where they have access to government and private credit and we lift many permanently out of poverty.

“An important feature of the program is financial inclusion. So far, we have 349,000 new bank accounts/wallets for beneficiaries and intending beneficiaries. In the second phase, when they get the second line of credit, we insist that they must open bank accounts. We are working now with about 8 banks that are very committed to the Trader Moni Scheme. We have banks who are providing phones, at the moment, we have taken custody of over 300,000 mobile phones. For those traders who do not have phones, they will be given mobile phones provided by the banks free of charge. The banks are also looking forward to the opportunity of opening new bank accounts for the traders. The banks are also mindful of the fact that the Telcos might want to beat them to it because the Telcos are very aggressive,” the Vice President asserted.

He also revealed that the government has been able to engage 500,000 young people in existing teaching jobs through the N-Power programme.   “Some of our N-Power graduates are also being employed as enumerators for data collection and research because of the new skills they have gained. In addition to these 500,000 N-Power graduates, we have 20,000 non-graduates working and learning as part of the N-Build programme in various construction, automotive and technology sectors,” he further stated.



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