‘TraderMoni’, a joint initiative involving the Bank of Industry (BOI) and Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), with the aim of giving collateral-free loans to small and medium scale entrepreneurs, recently kicked off in Oshogbo, Osun State, with 10,000 people being the first set of beneficiaries. JOSHUA DADA (Oshogbo), was at the event for LEADERSHIP Friday.

A Yoruba adage says, ‘Once hunger is removed from poverty, poverty is minimised’ therefore, any attempt at removing hunger from the society deserves accolade from right thinking individuals
It was in the light of these that all roads led to Iwo town, venue of the flag off of the distribution of collateral-free loans to small and medium scale traders and entrepreneurs under a joint initiative involving the Bank of Industry (BOI) and Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP).
To get removed from the shackle of perpetual poverty, expand their trades and be free from being a burden to others, petty traders, artisans started arriving the Baptist Government School playing ground venue of the event slated for 10:00 am as early as 7:00 am to benefit from the stress-free accessible loan tagged ‘TraderMoni’.
Although, the venue of the launch was not the only centre designated for the exercise, the turn out of not only would-be beneficiaries, but dignitaries was unprecedented because of their commitment to appreciate government and show support for the administration of President Muhammad Buhari.
Expectedly, the arrival of the nation’s second citizen, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, was greeted with thunderous ovation because of the desire of the people to say bye bye to hunger and poverty.
Flagging off the social intervention programme, Osinbajo said the programme was part of the federal government’s social intervention aimed at funding micro business in the country.
According to him, the initiative would help in boosting micro and small scale businesses and petty trading and commercial activities across the country.
Under the programme, Osinbajo said the beneficiaries would be given a sum of #10,000 naira each, repayable within six months and added that, any of the beneficiaries that pays back the loan within the stipulated period, would qualify for a bigger amount of N15,000.
“We thank God that we are starting this in Osun State. We will give you more as you begin to repay the N10, 000.
“If you look at it, petty traders are very many in Nigeria; they are everywhere; you see them in Iwo; they are many even in villages, towns and cities. We have to encourage them and do everything to encourage them to continue.
“We want to empower the masses especially those who are not lazy; we have to empower them with loans to continue with their trades. That is what President Buhari’s government wants to do.
He said: “TraderMoni scheme, is targeted at petty traders, market women, artisans and small scale business enterprises to cater for ultra-micro enterprises.
“The policy of the Federal Government is to support businesses, not just big business but particularly small, medium-sized businesses and micro businesses. The whole idea is that we want to ensure that we give whatever support to people to alleviate their businesses.
“For instance, if we give you #10,000 and you refund within six months then you are qualified to collect #15,000. If you pay back the sum of #15,000 you are qualified to get #20,000.”
“This programme is part of Social Empowerment Programme by President Buhari to discourage corruption in this nation and serve as a mean to help petty traders in the country. We want the wealth of this nation to be shared to every Nigerian.
“The wealth of this nation belongs to every citizen and not to some set of people; not politicians but the common people of the country who should feel the impact of the government.”
He commended President Buhari for placing high premium on the welfare of Nigerians, urging people to encourage the president to do more by re-electing him in 2019.
According to him, no government in the history of the country had outperformed President Mohammadu Buhari in boosting the economy of Nigeria.
“The present administration has done so much to empower the citizens as we can see in the commitment and passion that our administration attaches to anything that can bring all round development.
In her remarks, the executive director, Bank of Industry (BoI), Mrs Toyin Adeniji, said that no fewer than 30,000 beneficiaries would have access to the loan, but said 10,000 would be captured in the first phase.
Adeniji said she expected the 30,000 beneficiaries of the empowerment scheme to expand their trades in order to be able to benefit more from the scheme.
Mrs Adeniji further explained that the beneficiaries of the TraderMoni scheme are in all 36 states and the federal capital territory (FCT)
She averred: “Our agents have already met the market women at their point of sales to register them, they would get the money and pay it back immediately through Mobile Wallet. In fact, many people have started receiving the alert.”
“Under ‘TraderMoni’, traders don’t need any document or property to collect N10, 000 loan from the Federal Government.
“They only need to register, get captured and receive the money through their phones. The repayment plan is for six months and beneficiaries would pay a paltry N250 interest on the N10, 000 and qualify for a bigger loan thereafter.”
In his remarks at the event, Osun State governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, lauded his administration for banishing poverty, hunger and unemployment through prompt implementation of people-oriented policies that have made life abundant, meaningful and prosperous for the citizenry.
According to him, his administration has uprooted the scourge of poverty, hunger and unemployment in the state.
He said his administration has been very passionate and sensitive to the welfare of the people as seen in the positive impacts of the government on the lives of the citizenry.
Governor Aregbesola applauded President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government for coming up with the people-oriented project and for choosing Osun to be among the benefitting states in the country.
He expressed hope that the empowerment scheme will heighten the tempo of trade and bring dynamism to micro businesses in the state.
“It is our belief that this initiative will complement our social intervention programmes to make life abundant, meaningful, worthwhile and prosperous for our people.
“We are very happy that this empowerment programme has come to our state and we are optimistic that it will bring a drastic improvement on trade.
“We are very confident of the fact that this scheme will increase and heighten the tempo and dynamism in trade and commerce in our state”, Aregbesola added.
In his goodwill message, the Oluwo of Iwoland, Oba Abdul-Rasheed Adewale Akanbi, commended President Muhammadu Buhari, his Vice, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and Osun State governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, for being committed to human and capital development.
He expressed gratitude to Federal Government for launching the empowerment programme in Iwo town, saying the initiative will go a long way to boost trading activities in the town, state and Nigeria as a nation.
In a chat with the State Commissioner for Trade, Commerce and Empowerment, Mr Ismaila Jayeoba Alagbada, he commended the commitment of the state government to various social intervention programmes aimed at alleviating the suffering of the down trodden.
He named the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme, O’YES, the monthly stipends to the elderly ones in the state, the free feeding of pupils in Basic schools across the state among others as laudable programmes to eradicate poverty in the state.
He however, appealed to beneficiaries to make the best use of the opportunity at their disposal and make ensure they climb the ladder of benefiting bigger loans by paying as at when due.
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Mope Hammed, a vegetable hawker, expressed her gratitude to the federal government for the initiative adding that with the money at hand, she can now afford to expand her business.
According to her, she aimed at graduating to the level of being able to assess as much a #50,000 to expand her business through promo payment of the money she received.
Also, Mufutau Ajibola, a blacksmith said, with the money at hand, he can now produce products for buying and not remain at the level of repairing products for customers alone.
The event had in attendance, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Osun State governor, Ogbeni Rauf Arebesola, his deputy, Mrs Titilayo Laoye-Tomori, minister for Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, special adviser to the President on Political Matters, Babafemi Ojudu, Oluwo of Iwoland, Oba Abdul-Rasheed Adewale Akanbi, members of the State and National Houses of Assembly, Security Chiefs, top government functionaries, politicians, among others.