ABUJA, Nigeria – The Federal Government on Wednesday doled out interest-free loans to traders through its rebranded and expanded Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) now known as the Renewed Hope Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME).
While the programme is targeted at empowering 1.5m Nigerians, interest, each beneficiary received a interest and collateral free loans of N50,000 to help boost their trade.
In her address at the flag off of the programme under the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, which held at the banquet hall of the Presidential Villa, the Wife of the President, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, said the present administration is now poised to support Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), in the country so as to create a ripple effect for employment generation for Nigerians.
She said such support will go a long way in serving as a lifeline to those struggling to make ends meet while enhancing the overall well-being of individuals and families.
According to the First Lady, the transformative impact that Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) can have on the lives of the vulnerable ones in our society cannot be overemphasized, considering the fact that enterprises are the bedrock of our economy.
She said it plays a crucial role in fostering inclusive growth and providing tangible benefits to those who need it most, especially women and persons with disability.
Buttressing her position further, Tinubu’s wife said small scale businesses provide a platform for economic empowerment of those with limited resources who can become self-reliant entrepreneurs when equipped with skills and a supportive environment.
“It is in this regard, the rebranding of the three components of this programme is significant. Thus, Tradermoni (now rebranded Owo Oja or Olilanya Ndi Nagbambo or Tallafin Sana’a); Farmermoni (now rebranded Owoagbe or Olilanya Ndi Oru Ugbo or Tallafin Manoma); and Marketmoni (now rebranded Iyaloja or Nne Ahia or Agajin Yan Kasuwa).
“These rebranding drums home, especially among the womenfolk including traders and farmers, a deeper understanding and actual implication of the programme in our native languages.
“As I was informed that one of the strategic components of the Federal Government’s National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) is the Rebranded and Expanded Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), this Programme is expected to focus, amongst others, on offering interest and collateral-free loans to small scale entrepreneurs thereby providing financial inclusion and enabling individuals with limited resources to access much-needed capital for entrepreneurial endeavours.
“This democratisation of financial resources helps break down barriers and empowers the poor to participate actively in economic activities.” She said
Bemoaning traditional loans from commercial banks, she said such loans often come with high interest rates and stringent requirement for collateral, making it challenging for those with limited assets to secure funds.
“Eliminating these barriers, through Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) programmes create a more accessible and supportive environment for individuals to start and expand their businesses.
“Such financial support enhances the overall sustainability of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). Small businesses often face cash flow challenges, and the absence of exorbitant interest rates ensures that entrepreneurs can invest profits back into their businesses, fostering growth and resilience. This, in turn, contributes to job creation and economic stability within communities.
“My words of advice to those who might secure interest and collateral free loans through this Programme is that you should plan wisely, exercise financial discipline in managing the funds, invest strategically, be committed to repayment agreement, and be flexible to be able to navigate the dynamic business landscape.
“It is on this note, I hereby flag-off the Renewed Hope Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Programme to the glory of God, and wish you all a successful participation in the scheme. May all those who participate in the scheme prosper in their various business ventures,” the First Lady declared.
While speaking, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, said the market – moni scheme targeted at one and a half million beneficiaries across various states in the country would cover all the 109 senatorial districts.
The minister said one major market from each of the senatorial districts would be taken, adding that each beneficiary would receive interest and collateral free loans of N50,000 after registration.
“We are at a point to lift 50 million Nigerians out of poverty.
“They will be registered in the market. Their BVN will also be registered in the market. It is taking governance to the people.
“As soon as they register, a loan of N50,000 will be given to them, to use it for their businesses. The target for this is 1.5 million Nigerians that will benefit.
“We have other programmes that are within that bracket. Some of them are special projects targeted at Nigerians.
“I must say that Mr President is in a hurry to change Nigeria for better within the next one year.
“Other projects include the N-Power projects, the homegrown school feeding projects, the new special vehicle which is the End-Hunger project, by the Grace of God the President will be flagging that off next month.
“Beyond this, we are going to also launch other projects that will help young people to get coding skills.
“There are several interventions. We are dealing with multi-dimensional poverty so that at the end, we would have a nation that is strong under God, that its citizens will beat their chest and say indeed I am proud to be a Nigerian, and the Renewed Hope has truly come,” Edu stated.