The federal government will empower two million petty traders across the country with collateral-free loans this year, Laolu Akande, spokesman for Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, has said.
Akande said that the new initiative, called TraderMoni, would be implemented under the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP).
He said that the gesture was part of federal government’s efforts to further enlarge its financial inclusion agenda for all Nigerians regardless of social class and economic status.
“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.
“Altogether, the two 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 over a period of six months,” Akande said in a statement on Sunday.
Akande said that under the scheme, beneficiaries could get access to a higher facility ranging from N15, 000 to N50, 000 when they repaid N10,000 within the stipulated time period.
He said that President Muhammadu Buhari administration would use TraderMoni to take financial inclusion down to the grassroots, considering the contribution of petty traders to economic development.
He said that the federal government was also aware of the fact that many of the petty traders did not have what the commercial banks required to grant them loans.
The special assistant said that the administration was keen to ensure that traders at that level were 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 praises on the Buhari administration for this initiative that will improve their businesses,’’ he said.
Akande said that beneficiaries in Lagos were highly appreciative of what the Buhari’s administration was doing to assist the masses, especially petty traders.