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Will Trader Moni collapse in the future?

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[FILES] Cross-section of traders waiting to be captured at the flag-off of TraderMoni empowerment programme at Ojuwoye market, Mushin, Lagos.PHOTO: AYODELE ADENIRAN


The Trader Moni is an empowerment scheme done by the federal government of Nigeria. It is a loan program created for the petty traders and artisans in Nigeria. This programme is done basically to enhance and support the businesses of the petty traders, thereby giving them 10,000 naira interest-free loans as capital, to start up their businesses or improve their market, which they will eventually pay back to the government as their business grows, so as to be given more opportunities and access to loans higher than the initial amount. This program is being executed by the Bank of Industry (BOI).

The government realized how the citizens were in dire need of money and little capital to start up their businesses, because most banks do not give loans to petty traders. This brought about the birth of Trader Money in Nigeria. The Trader Moni has gone round the 36 states including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, as the government has targeted to disburse 2million Trader Moni loan to these states, which both the small scale traders and the petty traders are their main target. In the past a lot of programs like the Trader Moni were in existence, but later scrapped by the same government who set up those programs. This was because of their inability and lack of competence to continue the funding of the traders, while others that are still in existence are not as active as they used to be when they were first established. Most of these governments saw the creation of such programs as an opportunity to build up their political ambitions, and success. While others, used it as a way of political campaign, but some actually saw it as a way of helping the poor citizens of the country. Some of the empowerment programs and schemes includes; Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Program (SURE-P), which was founded in January 2012, during the Jonathans administration.

The main objectives of the program was to provide employments for unemployed graduates through internship programs. This program is not as effective as it was when it first started. Because today, people apply and are not being recruited or not even responded to at all. We also have the N-POWER empowerment scheme, founded during the present Muhammadu Buhari administration.The program was established in 2016 and is divided majorly into three parts; the N-Power Volunteer Corps, N-Power Knowledge and N-Power Build. This program was developed to harness unemployment in Nigerian youths, through skill acquisition. The scheme also gives free interest loans to youths. These programs did not last for a very long time because as the government were able to achieve their political aims, they sidelined and shunned the traders who were desperately waiting for the government and putting all hopes on them to render some assistance with little amount of money as loans to start up their businesses. Well, except for the N-POWER program which is still in existence, but not as good as before because as of last year a lot of traders applied for loans but they were not granted and this is showing the slow death of this particular empowerment scheme.

I would say, the Trader Moni scheme is a very wise and brilliant idea, as a lot of small scale business men and women as well as petty traders will be opportune to benefit from it and I commend the federal government for their support. But my major concern is, for how long do governments intend to continue the smooth sailing of the program and what are the future plans of the federal government in terms of sustaining the Trader Moni scheme for a lengthy period of time in order for it not to be disregarded in the future, just like the other similar schemes that were also targeted at petty traders, but are not very effective as of today.

The reason for my being concern about this issue is because, most of the beneficiaries are already relying on the government for more loans as they pay, which will enable the growth of their businesses. In a situation where the government halts the empowerment program, the traders will be greatly affected, as all their hopes will be lost, because a lot of banks do not usually offer loans to petty traders like them, so the outcome of the program having to be ceased will be a bizarre as a lot of traders who had ambition and zeal to work, also those that had just the little business with which they sustain their family, will become frustrated as their source of livelihood has been destroyed and as a result they start indulging in heinous crimes in the society just to make a living.

I think I would speak for the traders here in the sense that, I earnestly ask the government not to break the smooth journey of the Trader Moni empowerment scheme for small scale and petty traders. But rather, continue with the scheme even after their reign so their names and good deed will forever be remembered in the heart and minds of these poor Nigerian traders.
Zainab wrote from Zaria


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