Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday in Abuja flagged off a social intervention programme for petty traders in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The vice president said the initiative called TradeMoni,being implemented by the Bank of Industry (BoI) was aimed at funding micro businesses in the country and targets petty traders, artisans and small -scale business enterprises .Addressing traders at the Utako model market, Osinbajo said it was the policy of the federal government to support businesses, not just big business but particularly small, medium-sized businesses and micro businesses, adding that earlier, government had disbursed the sum of N100,000 each to traders outside the micro cycle under its Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP).
The vice president disclosed that under the TradeMoni scheme each petty trader would receive the sum of N10,000 interest free loan which would be refunded within six months following which they would qualify to collect N15,000 and N20,000 respectively if they paid back. “The whole idea is that we want to ensure that we give whatever support to people to alleviate their businesses,” he explained. In her remarks, the executive director, Micro Enterprises, Bank of Industry (BOI), Mrs Toyin Adeniji, disclosed that no fewer than 30,000 beneficiaries would collect loan in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) , but said 10,000 would be captured in the first phase. She further disclosed that all together, two million petty traders would be reached across the nation on or before the end of this year. “This programme is targeting petty traders all over the country. For every state in nigeria and the FCT, the minimum number of beneficiaries is 30,000, some will be more than that. “We are targeting in the first instance two million petty traders and each petty trader who is enumerated, registered and qualifies for the loan gets N10,000, we will continue for as long as it takes.
“The loan starts at N10,000, you have three to six months to pay back , if you pay back the 10,000 you will get a higher loan of N15,000 if you pay back the N15,000 , you can get N20,000 and then you can move on. The truth is you can become a very big trader from this small beginning. “We make sure this programme follows an order; this is not a largess, grant or gift, it is a commercial loan for them to expand their businesses. Trader money is a loan that will allow petty traders to go to the next level to allow them to break away from the cycle of not having access to capital to do their business,” she said.
Adeniji therefore urged the traders to be patient , explaining that although registration takes about two minutes to be captured in the system, it takes between 48 hours to a maximum of two weeks for the disbursement of funds due to the processes involved. She also advised interested petty traders to open an account and also obtain a Bank Verification Number (BVN) with any of the banks to qualify for the second round of loans. In a related development, the vice president also commissioned the MSME One – Stop – Shop. at the Abuja Enterprise Development Agency.
The VP said that the business support services and financing of 15,000 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises [MSMEs] in the Federal Capital Territory [FCT] by the Abuja Enterprises Agency [AEA] was an effort that should be sustained especially as it it was in line with the federal government’s agenda to empower businesses. The vice president represented by the minister of state for trade and investment, Hajiya Aisha Abubakar , said there were proofs that the intervention has also created 12,517 jobs from 2015 to date.He said the initiative was designed to further facilitate the synergy between the MSMEs and business support and regulatory bodies thereby eliminating bureaucratic bottlenecks facing the MEMEs in the country. In his welcome address, the managing director, Abuja Enterprises Agency [AEA], Muhammad Tukur Arabi ,said that over 8,500 businesses were presently being sensitised on regulatory issues, government support programmes and projects. He said by the latest initiative , MSMEs have been afforded the opportunity to directly interact with business regulatory and support institutions.
Arabi said the agency was committed to delivering on the ease of doing business mandate of the present administration which has given a special attention to the MSMEs sub-sector.
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