GEEP and financial inclusion: an inside look at the impact of GEEP loans on beneficiaries
The Government Enterprise and Empowerment Program (GEEP) grants interest-free loans of between N10,000 to N300,000 in a graduating scale of N10,000; N20,000; N50,000; N100,000; and N300,000. Traders either start at N10,000 (TraderMoni), or N50,000 (MarketMoni), or N300,000 (FarmerMoni) depending on the scale of their current trade, and preparedness to meet the criteria at each level. When beneficiaries take a loan and pay back, they automatically qualify for the next higher amount. One of the primary goals of GEEP is to increase financial inclusion and support for citizens at the lowest base of the economic pyramid.
A look at the impact of the program so far has seen over 2million Nigerians benefitting from the different GEEP products. We sat down with a few GEEP beneficiaries who got the Tradermoni & Marketmoni loans for a look at how GEEP has affected their lives:
Please may we meet you?
My name is Mrs Makinde Helen. I sell palm oil in Oja Bisi market.
How long have you been selling in this market?
I have been selling for more than 10 years now. I make little profit from palm oil because I sell in small portions. I get money for one keg and I go to purchase from my seller. When I get there, the seller gives me an extra keg on credit to repay back after sale.
How did you hear about Tradermoni?
I came to the market and I heard that the Federal Government is helping petty traders. They want us to add to our capital so we don’t sit idle at home. One of the people came to register me. They asked me for my name, phone number and took a picture of me and my goods. They said I will get a text message the next day. I was so surprised I got the text message the next day and they came to give us the money.
What did you do with the 10,000 naira?
The money has helped me to get 2 extra kegs without having to buy on credit. This means I can now buy 3 kegs and my profit has increased. Infact, I am so happy.
This means that the loan has helped your business?
Yes, it has. I have more palm oil to sell now and I have more customers.
Mrs Agbo Mnenna who is a petty trader in Markudi Modern Market spoke about repaying her first Tradermoni loan and getting the next loan.
We understand that you have repaid the first loan?
Yes. The person that registered me told me that I have to pay back the money within 6 months so I started paying back immediately. I just finished repaying the 10,250 last week. As I finished paying, I got a message that I am qualified to get 15,000 naira.
How did you get the 15,000?
The message said I should look for any TraderMoni agent in the market to collect the money. The next day, I saw the agents in the market and I got the 15,000 naira that same day. I want to tell the people that have not paid to pay because it is real. They didn’t give us this money to eat and sit at home. They gave it to us so we can hustle and improve our business. Once you pay back, they will give you the 15,000.
Do you think this is a good program?
Yes, the program is good. It has helped me and plenty other people in this market. I want to say thank you to the Federal Government. Thank you for caring about us.
Mrs Jumai Bello who is an ointment merchant in Bauchi spoke about how the Marketmoni loan expanded her business significantly
How did you hear about Marketmoni?
I learnt about GEEP Marketmoni through my cooperative association. Our cooperative usually gives us loans but it is very small amount due to the number of people who want the loans.
How did the 50,000 loan help your business?
In my business, I give small shop owners in the market to help me sell the ointments. I keep records of all the ointments I have given for sale to help me remember what I will get in return and calculate my profit. I used the 50,000 naira to buy the materials for my ointments in bulk quantity rather than in bits like I used to. It helped me to produce more and also give more shop owners to help me sell.
What do you intend to do next?
I am paying back my loan now. Once I finish, I will apply to get 100,000. I want to use the money to buy a machine that will help me produce ointments faster. I really like this program and I hope that the Federal Government will continue to do more people-oriented programmes like this.
Many beneficiary stories like the ones above abound across the country as GEEP continues to provide access to credit for Nigerians and increase financial inclusion. Through GEEP, the Federal government is committed to targeting the over 37 million Nigerians that are financially excluded or under-included. This will lead to an increase in savings, disposable income and economic growth, and ease in making economic policies. These Nigerians will also be able to get into structured financial institutions which will raise their credit profile and give them access to better financial resources in the future.