The vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has said that over 300, 000 market women, traders, artisans, and farmers across the 36 states have benefited from over N15.183 billion interest-free loans disbursed by the federal government.
Osinbajo who stated this in his remarks at the 9th quarterly business forum held in Abuja on Monday said 56 per cent of the beneficiaries are women.
He said each of the beneficiaries got between N50, 000 and N350, 000 under the scheme adding that there would be a remarkable difference if the present administration spent N1 trillion annually on the poor.
“For the small businesses we have expanded the micro credit to small businesses under our Government Empowerment and Enterprise Programme (GEEP): N15.183 billion in interest-free loan ranging from N50, 000 to N350, 000 has been disbursed to more than 300,000 market women, traders, artisans, farmers across all 36 states of the country and the FCT. By the way, 56 per cent of the loans have gone to women,” he said.
However, the vice president said the ‘TraderMoni programme’ “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.”
He said the over two million petty traders across the country had been empowered with micro-credit under the scheme.
“Under the TraderMoni scheme, we are giving microcredit to two million petty traders across the country. The scheme enables them to draw further credit if they are able to pay back within six months.
“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 more permanently out of poverty.”
“An important feature of the programme is financial inclusion. The GEEP has led to the opening of 349,000 new bank accounts/wallets for beneficiaries and intending beneficiaries,” he stressed.
“The smallest businesses, the one table trader, the bread or plantain seller or the Mai Shai; this is the largest segment of our working population; their inventory is no more than N5, 000-N10, 000.
“But they are an important part of the value chain of most goods. They sell the single sachets of soap, sugar, and spices to the largest number of our people. But they are forgotten and ignored in economic plans and budgets, and considered too unwieldy and risky for micro-credit loans,” he said.