The boisterous Ojuwoye market at Mushin, Lagos State, was yesterday animated in anticipation of the arrival of the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who was expected to activate the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) known as TraderMoni.
TraderMoni is a Federal Government’s Social Intervention Programme that provides interest-free loans of N10,000 to market men and women, a segment of the society with the greatest difficulty accessing credit. The scheme is executed by the Bank of Industry (BoI).
After several hours of waiting, it was obvious matters of urgent national concerns kept Osinbajo in Abuja. This, however, did not stop the flag-off of the programme in Lagos.
Mrs. Toyin Adeniji, Executive Director, BoI, said the activation at five markets in Lagos yesterday would be taken across all the states of the federation. “People have been enumerated in the last three weeks so we have data of all the petty traders in the markets.
“They have three to six months to pay back the first N10,000 and once they finish paying, they immediately qualify for N15,000. If they pay that back, they qualify for N20,000. After paying back N20,000, they can cross over to another sister empowerment programme called the MarketMoni, which starts from N50,000.
“We are planning for TraderMoni to reach over two million beneficiaries. We will go on as long as there is a need and as long as people pay back. All beneficiaries have to do is trade with the money and pay back N430 every week for six months.
Chief Operating Officer of MarketMoni, Uzoma Nwagba, said the objective is empowerment. “For people at this level, nobody really watches out for them. A lot of them cannot walk into any bank and get the manager’s audience. This government recognizes the economic contribution at this level and reason we are focusing on empowering the masses.”
The Iyaloja of Ojuwoye market, Alhaja Mufuliyat Abimbola Adebunmi, who likened it to a sustainable stomach infrastructure, said they are happy government has decided to make provisions for them.
“My advice is for traders to take advantage of this assistance from government to support their business and not divert it to personal stuffs or use it to buy Ankara. It is to grow their business and pay back so that they can get more.”