Mr Olukayode Pitan, the Managing Director of Bank of Industry (BoI), has said the bank disbursed N11.5 billion to petty traders and artisans under the Social Investment Programne of Nigeria known as TraderMoni.
Pitan said after the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, inspected the Command Centre where Tradermoni is being monitored and tracked at BOI Corporate office in Abuja.
TraderMoni is a micro-loan scheme under the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP). It provides capital to artisans and petty traders.
The programme also provides loans for commercially active Nigerians typically unable to access loans from traditional lending institutions as they have no formal identities, financial track record or even collateral.
Pitan said that no fewer than 1.4 million Nigerians had benefited from the programme across the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He said that the money was a loan designed to help Nigerians, particularly petty traders to raise capital but “not a national cake as speculated in some quarters.’’
The banker said that the first loan to beneficiaries was N10,000 and was meant to be paid back by beneficiaries to get more after six months.
Pitan expressed optimism that the beneficiaries would pay back at the appropriate time by the way the traders appreciated the gesture of the government .
He said that 4,000 agents had been engaged to disburse the money across the country.
Two million Nigerians are expected to benefit from the programme by the end of December, 2018.
Osinbajo had said the TraderMoni initiative under the Social Investment Programme was to uplift and boost the businesses of petty traders across the country.
The initiative personally conceived by President Muhammadu Buhari, is a micro-loan scheme under the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), it provides capital for artisans, and petty traders.
“President Buhari was a chairman of a group known as Katsina Foundation; the foundation was doing this exactly by giving loan to small traders like people making Akara and other small trades.
“The foundation gave loan to a lot of traders and he felt this could be replicated on the national scale because of how it worked.
“I can tell you that in terms of originating the concept of this Tradermoni, it is from the president.
“He has done it before and he had seen it working, he replicated it at the national level and I am happy we are succeeding”
The programme also provides loans for commercially active Nigerians typically unable to access loans by traditional lending institutions as they have no formal identities, financial track record or even collateral.
The vice president noted that BOI was brought in, to give professional and commercial way of doing it.
According to him, the programme is the largest in Africa and no country that has anything close to it in the world except India.
Osinbajo said that it was unfortunate and ridiculous that people were criticising a programme of this nature that had touched lives of a lot common man.
“It is a programme approved by the senate and the entire National Assembly.
“I am wondering while an individual is condemning such project. We are only going out to implement it and we are doing so as vigorous as possible” Osinbajo stated.
He said that the government was looking at N20 billion for the first phase of the programme but all depended on the availability of funds.