Home Economy Tradermoni disburses N11.5bn loans to 1.2m poor, boosts micro-economy—BOI

Tradermoni disburses N11.5bn loans to 1.2m poor, boosts micro-economy—BOI

by Business News Report

Tradermoni a scheme designed and developed by the Bank of Industry, though an initiative of the federal government of Nigeria has seen the sum of N11.5 billion injected into the economy. The sum is a revolving loan facility disbursed to the poor in three categories. The scheme has had a multiplying effect by increasing the productivity of Nigerians who ordinarily could not access bank loan. The scheme has also expanded the financial inclusion being pursued by the Central Bank of Nigeria by enrolling 1.2 million who would not have had access to banking facility into the system. Most of the beneficiaries have also been enrolled in the Bank Verification Number BVN. 

Taking reporters through the scheme in Abuja, Executive Director, Micro Enterprise, Bank of Industry,  Mrs Toyin Adeniji, said “more than 1.5 million Nigerians have benefited from the  Federal Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) scheme since inception in 2016”. Adeniji said that the scheme was one of the four social intervention programmes of the Federal Government.

She said the scheme has three products – MarkekMoni, FarmerMoni and TraderMoni – and that the beneficiaries were traders, artisans, framers, petty traders, tricycle operators, among others. She said that the scheme has two primary goals of access to finance and financial inclusion. ”GEEP first product, MarketMoni, is a loan between N50,000 and N300,000 for  upper end of micro enterprises which more than 350,000 businesses have benefited from. The second one is FarmerMoni which starts from N300,000 and is for farmers and has more than 5,000 farmers. The third one is TraderMoni, a micro credit loan for petty traders, which starts from N10,000 to N15,000, N20,000, N50, 000 and N100,000 and has benefited more than 1.2 million petty traders,” Adeniji said.

She said that the minimum criteria for accessing GEEP include being a verified trader with a verified place of trade and possession of a Bank Verification Number for MarketMoni and FarmerMoni. In addition, the beneficiary must be a member of a certified market association or cooperative society and having a bank account or mobile wallet. Adeniji said that agents were prohibited from requesting for any information not listed in the criteria for each facility. “Under no circumstances is a Permanent Voter Card or any political indication requested when applying for these loans,” she said.  

She  said “the bank has the data of  the 1.5 million  traders who  had received the loans. She said that the loans could be repaid through commercial banks, local agents and by purchasing of GEEP vouchers in  various markets. According to her, every beneficiary of the scheme is a loan obligor to Bank of Industry. “The bank has developed a structured framework to execute the programme,” she said. Adeniji said that the bank planned to train traders on the use of technology to drive information and also promised to create more awareness on the scheme.  She further said that contrary to insinuation that the money being disbursed is free, it is a loan that beneficiaries have to pay back. She said that as at December 2018, the bank had disbursed 1.2 million loans in all the 36 states of the federation and the federal capital territory. The plan she said is to disburse 2 million loans.

According to her the loans are granted to Street hawkers, petty traders, artisans, micro-commercial service providers. Going by BOI records 51.3 per cent of the loans have been so far granted to women, while 48.7 per cent is to men. A further breakdown showed that 39 per cent of the Tradermoni was granted to food stuff vendors, 20.6 per cent clothing vendors, 10.196 per cent to FMCG vendors, while 10.1 per cent went to recharge card vendors and 26.1 per cent to others.

She said that Tradermoni is not a free handout. It is a loan, an initiative of the federal government known as Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) to get people working. She stressed that the loan was not a gift or a vote buying scheme as many have wrongly alleged. She said it was as a result of this wrong notion that PVC was excluded from the loan requirement. She said that GEEP leverages on a private sector-driven agent network that is spread across the 36 states of the federation to enumerates beneficiaries. 

She said “beneficiaries then go through a verification process at the bank of Industry before the disbursement. The minimum criteria for access the GEEP loan she said include being a verified trader, with a verified place of trade, possession of a BVN for Marketmoni and Farmermoni; membership of a certified market Association or cooperative, a bank account for mobile wallet which are opened for the beneficiaries by Bank of Industry agents for those who do not have bank account. She said that agents of the programme are prohibited from requesting for any information not listed in the criteria for each facility. She said that under no circumstance is a PVC or any political indication requested when applying for these loans. She said that every single candidate for the GEEP is enumerated at their point of trade by one of the over 4,000 agents bearing tablet devices or smartphones. Of the approximately 5 million candidates enumerated till date 1.5 million have qualified and received the loans across all GEEP products”.

According to her “there is a stringent process for enumerating beneficiaries, validating their details at the BOI backend, and disbursing the loans We have more than 43 data points collected for each enumerated beneficiary. For all the 1.5 million traders that have received the loan, we can tell you exactly who they are, their trade type, the market where they trade, their age, sex, mobile number, facial ID and bank related detail”. Continuing Mrs Adeniji said “the entire operation of GEEP is technology driven; BVN are validated against the NIBSS database, background checks are done against third party data sources, all enumeration is done on the agent’s tablet devices that feed the information into a central BOI database, extensive KYC is done on our agents, and we carry out independent verification and regulate system audits to protect the integrity of the programme and its operation.”

Mrs Adeniji also said “we continue to set up a robust infrastructure to enable repayments and recover our loans. Today, GEEP loans can be repaid  via one of three methods which are, by walking into  bank branches and paying over the counter; by paying at local agents of our aggregators or mobil money representatives or by purchasing GEEP vouchers in your market place and recharging your loan account. We have also seen a high uptake in repayments since we commenced a push and provided a wide array of options as our beneficiaries want to stay on the journey to higher loans by repaying their previous loans.”

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