Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday visited Trader Moni Command Centre at the Bank of Industry, Abuja.
He was at the bank to inspect the back-end operations of the collateral-free loan to petty traders across the country.
During the visit, Osinbajo received calls from Trader Moni intending beneficiaries, Peter Kefas, a clothing vendor in Mandate Market, Ilorin and Abosede Adedoye, a food vendor in Mushin, Lagos State.
He assured them that having been enumerated, they would soon be receiving their loans.
Osinbajo was with the Chairman of BOI, Mr. Abdulraman Dikko , Managing Director of the bank, Mr. Olukayode A. Pitan and well as some beneficiaries of Trader Moni Programme.
In the ever-increasing web of economic activities, petty traders provide a buffer between the `haves and the have nots’.
Despite the pivotal roles they play in the economy, petty traders are often neglected even as they struggle to eke out a living and meet their financial obligations.
Undoubtedly, the society will suffer a dislocation if that garri, yam, pepper/tomato, soup ingredients, vegetables, local beverages sellers, food vendors, okada rider inter alia are not there.
Over the years, various intervention programmes targeted at micro-businesses seemed not to have captured the plight of this category of low income people.
In the light of the aforementioned, the Federal Government recently rolled out a scheme –TraderMoni, under which two million petty traders across the country will get N10, 000 collateral-free loans this year.
This Bank of Industry (BOI) supported initiative was recently launched by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo in Lagos.
Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President, Office of the Vice President, said that the new initiative would be implemented under the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP).
He said that the gesture was part of Federal Government’s efforts to further enlarge its financial inclusion agenda for all Nigerians regardless of social class and economic status.
“The scheme will grant a minimum of 30,000 loans in each state of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
“Altogether, the two million mark is expected to be attained on or before the end of this year, with petty traders in Lagos, Kano and Abia States set to be the first round of beneficiaries to draw the collateral free loans.
“In addition to the 30,000 loans per state, states with larger populations like Lagos and Kano are expected to get more than 30,000 loans. Across the country, especially in the pilot states, about 500,000 potential beneficiaries have so far been enumerated.
“In order to identify the beneficiaries, no less than 4,000 enumeration agents have been engaged by the Bank of Industry which is deploying the new scheme.
“TraderMoni is designed to help petty traders expand their trade through the provision of collateral free loans of N10, 000.
“The loans are repayable over a period of six months,” Akande said.
Akande said that under the scheme, beneficiaries could get access to a higher facility ranging from N15, 000 to N50, 000 when they repaid N10, 000 within the stipulated time period.
He said that President Muhammadu Buhari administration would use TraderMoni to take financial inclusion down to the grassroots, considering the contribution of petty traders to economic development.