2.5m SMEs to get financial support, training, says Osinbajo

VICE-President Prof Yemi Osinbajo has said the Federal Government will provide micro-lending to about 2.5 million small trades and businesses to the lowest income earners through the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP).

Osinbajo stated this at the weekend in Lagos during the Inclusive Business Policy Development Programme with the theme: African Policy Road Show: Building Robust Policies for Increased Social Investment and Inclusive Business.

The Vice-President said the beneficiaries would include traders, women cooperatives, market women, enterprising youths, farmers and agricultural workers.

The package, which would be managed by the Bank of Industry (BoI), he said, is in partnership with over 20 private sector and donor partners at local and international levels.

They include the World Bank, Ford Foundation, MacArthur Foundation and Department for International Development (DFID), ActionAid and Accenture.

Others are: Dangote Group, Lagos Business School, the Nigeria Economic Summit Group, Economic Research Institute, and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) among others.

It was organised by the African Venture Philanthropy Alliance and the Inclusive Business Action Network (IBAN).

Osinbajo, who was represented by the Special Adviser (SA) to the President on Economic Matters, Dipolu Adeyemi, explained that interested persons in Marketmoni or Farmermoni could apply online as well as through the BoI, the state focal person, the state ministries of trade, commerce, agriculture or women affairs.

The Vice-President said it was a six-month loan tenor of between N10,000 and N350,000 with a halt of two weeks.

He said the tenor may be extended for Farmermoni, depending on the nature of the farm produce or product.

According to him, successful applicants must be paid directly, while membership in a cooperative or association is mandatory.

Osinbajo said the leadership of the cooperatives must ensure credibility and timely payment.

“There is no collateral interest element. The conditions for applying for Marketmoni and Farmermoni loans are the setting up of a cooperative (as a pressure group) or belonging to a cluster with an off-taker, the opening of an account and the acquisition of Bank Verification Number (BVN),” he said.

Applicants must also have a business location, the Vice-President said.

Osinbajo said there is between 2.5 per cent and five per cent administrative fee to be paid to the aggregators and agents who are recruited to recover the loans from successful applicants.

He also said the N-Power was the employability and enhancement programme of the Federal Government aimed at imbibing the learn-worker-entrepreneurship culture in youths between the ages of 18 and 35.

The Vice-President said applications were done online to create a level-playing field for everyone and determine which applicants’ details would enable selection and direct payment through the bank accounts and BVN submitted.

Osinbajo said for graduates, around 500,000 had been deployed to active service in the teaching, health, agriculture, tax and monitoring spheres, in addition to being paid N30,000 monthly incomes.

According to him, the N-Power volunteers are given devices with relevant content for continuous learning to facilitate their ability to successfully implement the selected vocation and enable them take ownership of their lives.

Also, the Vice-President explained that for non-graduates, about 26,000 in the N-Build, automobile, hospitality and technology (hardware and software) categories had been, or were being trained in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He said after the training, they were placed as interns for nine months through a close collaboration with CORBON, NADDC and NIHOTOUR.

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