•Traders, artisans, others get N15b soft loans
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday said spending N1 trillion yearly on poor Nigerians was capable of impacting the economy positively.The Federal Government, had through the Bank of Industry (BoI) and Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), recently introduced Trader Moni, a scheme floated for smallholder traders and indigent citizens.
The programme specifically provides traders with N10,000 loans at first request.Speaking at the ninth Presidential Quarterly Business Forum in Abuja, he, however, did not explain how and the formula to be deployed in disbursing the money. “If we spend N1 trillion to bail out the poor in this country every year, we will make a massive difference,” he said.
Osinbajo stated that job creation had always been a priority of the current administration, stressing that the surest way to create employments was by providing an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive. He said the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) were among government agencies doing well on the ease of doing business in the country.
His words: “Job creation has been a priority of this administration and this I must say is not just in words. In analysing the solutions, we were clear that the surest way of creating jobs is by enabling the private sector to do business easily so that opportunities are created in agriculture and the agro-allied industry, services, manufacturing among others.
“But we realise that would not solve the immediate problems of thousands of graduates who have no jobs or the millions who are at the bottom of the trading pyramid barely eking out a living. This, we believe, created a compelling argument for direct intervention by government.
“Our preferred approach has been a practical one. So, while we worked through the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) to improve the business environment, and worked on several sector-based incentivisation schemes, we also undertook a hands-on approach to getting the MSMEs working.”
On the Trader Moni scheme, the vice president disclosed that N15.183 billion in interest-free loans ranging from N50,000 to N350,000 had been disbursed to more than 300,000 market women, traders, artisans, farmers across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), with 56 per cent of the facilities going to women.He noted that the programme was one of the most crucial components of expanding opportunities for millions of traders by giving micro credits to the bottom of the trading pyramid.