Kogi State government at the weekend launched an empowerment known as Bello Market Women (BMW) to assist market women by adding value to their micro trades.
The scheme tagged B-MONI, which was launched at Bagido in Isanlu, the immediate community of the state commissioner of Finance, Hon Asiwaju Idris Asiru, coincided with this year’s Isanlu day celebrations.
The commissioner of Finance who was represented at the launch of the empowerment scheme by the coordinator, Hon Ayopemi Ayowande, said, while the programme serves as a pilot scheme in Yagba East in Kogi West, same programme will be launched in Okene, Kogi Central and Olamaboro in Eastern part of the state very soon.
At the event, over 200 women were given N5,000 each to either start up a petty trade or upscale their existing business.
Ayowande described the scheme as a direct succour from a caring government led by Governor Yahaya Bello to ease the financial burden, reduce dependency and alleviate the poverty level of women in the state.
He said the Bello Market Women (BMW) initiative is a replication or domestication of the federal government’s TraderMoni scheme, as the loans would be totally interest free, adding however that a consistent return of capital within a three-month interval would qualify such beneficiaries for the next tranche of fund.
He further explained that at the return of the N5,000 within 3months qualifies the beneficiary for N10,000 until it attains a N50,000 tranche which has a one-year repayment timeline.
The scheme, which is overseen by the Ministry of Finance and economic development, is directly attached to the governor’s office.
Ayowande noted that it is aimed at creating a thriving economy for the local petty traders via financial inclusion and favourable government policy.
He recalled that Governor Bello had emphasized on the fact that his new direction government would care for the people of the state, regardless of their religion, tribe, creed, status and political inclinations. “It is a government focused on uplifting the people and uniting the state”, the coordinator stated.
He further stated that at full operations of the empowerment scheme, about 200,000 women would have gained entry into the safety net of trade improvement and poverty reduction.
One of the beneficiaries, Madam Ranti Abiona, who confirmed receipt of the loan, said it would go a long way to help her small trade, even as she praised to the Bello administration for the initiative.