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Traders, artisans get new lease with interest-free loans

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Traders, Blessing Michael and Precious Francis; Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo; and Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajia Aisha Abubakar, at Utako Market, Abuja.

For the millions of unbanked petty traders and artisans across the country, TraderMoni is the new buzzword and the key to getting their rapt attention. Since the Federal Government scheme in conjunction with the Bank of Industry was activated last month in the popular Ojuwoye market, Mushin, Lagos State, it has been a tour of major markets in Lagos, Osun and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, taking the good news of N10,000 collateral-free loans to the traders.

With over 23 million Nigerians financially excluded, the introduction of TraderMoni could not have come at a better time. Described by some as the invisible hands that uphold the economy due to their large numbers, petty traders and artisans continue to contribute to Nigeria’s GDP without any credit support from commercial banks. This is because they lack the necessary documentation and collateral needed to qualify for loans, a gap the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is working to fill with the integration of the informal sector into its social intervention scheme.

Already, more than 4,000 enumeration agents are working across Nigeria to identify beneficiaries, with TraderMoni on a target to empower two million businesses before the end of 2018 with a minimum of 30,000 loans earmarked for each state and the FCT. Chief (Mrs.) Mufliat Adewunmi, the Iyaloja of Ojuwoye market, gave kudos to the government for identifying with the small-scale traders. “We are happy about the scheme. The government should do more to assist the masses, especially traders. We know what we have been facing in the bank.”

A beneficiary who is a tricycle operator in Uyowho, Willy Willy, said the process was transparent, easy and fast. “The registration was very easy. They took my picture and my details. It’s just like going to the modern bank. It didn’t waste any time. I got the money on my phone. I have been looking for a loan from banks to service my tricycle but it didn’t come. I will use this N10,000 to make my tricycle roadworthy so my passengers can enjoy a smooth ride. As I am operating the tricycle, I will be paying the money back. I will be faithful in paying the money so I can get more money,” he said.

Speaking at the launch of the scheme in Utako Ultra-Modern Market, Abuja, at the weekend, Osinbajo enjoined the traders and artisans to avail themselves of the loan, which is meant to empower them and expand their businesses.

Addressing the ecstatic crowd, he said TraderMoni was targeted at those at the bottom of the pyramid running micro-businesses. “It is for small small traders, no be big traders; we wan give money, make them sell well.”

Beneficiaries get N10,000 as the first loan and qualify for a larger amount of N15,000 when they pay back the loan. After payback of the second loan, they qualify for a N20,000 loan, and then N50,000, and then N100,000.


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