A key element of the Muhammadu Buhari administration’s Social Investment Programmes has won continental praise.
African Bankers named the Federal Government’s Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) as the nation’s most impactful financial inclusion scheme.
A statement yesterday in Abuja, the nation’s capital, by the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, said the schemes won award from the continental bankers.
According to him, the Bank of Industry (BoI), which implements GEEP, was given the award at the African Bankers’ Awards ceremony in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, on June 11.
It was for the bank’s role in implementing GEEP, which includes the popular TraderMoni, as well as MarketMoni and FarmerMoni microcredit schemes.
The African Banker Awards, held annually on the fringes of the annual meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB), celebrates excellence in banking and finance on the African continent.
The statement said: “Since its commencement in 2016, millions of Nigerians have benefited from GEEP, while the micro-credit schemes have empowered over 2 million micro-enterprises with collateral-free, interest-free loans to grow their businesses. The vast majority of these micro-enterprises are petty traders, small-scale merchants, enterprising youths and agricultural workers in over 1,600 clusters and markets across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
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“MarketMoni is a six-month interest-free, collateral-free loan starting from N50,000 to N100,000 for small businesses under the auspices of their cooperative societies or associations. Over 350,000 traders have benefitted from MarketMoni.
“There is also the FarmerMoni loans, which start at N250,000 and are tailored to suit the peculiarities of the different planting seasons and farming requirements. About 5,000 farmers have benefited till date.
“In the same vein, over 1.7 million petty traders are beneficiaries of TraderMoni scheme, designed to assist petty traders and artisans nationwide to expand their trade through the provision of collateral and interest-free loans, starting from N10,000.
“The loans are repayable over a period of six months, after which the traders get an increased loan of N15,000. They get additional sums up to a N100,000 along the way as they repay the loans. TraderMoni is designed to meet the needs of the larger population of petty traders at the bottom of the pyramid who do not meet the stringent criteria of credit facilities required for the bigger MarketMoni loans.
“Over 1.5 million of the two million GEEP beneficiaries are first-time beneficiaries of credit from a formal financial lender, while over half of GEEP’s 2 million beneficiaries are first-time operators of bank accounts or mobile wallets.
“Also, working with over 4,000 agents and 15,000 cooperatives in more than 1,600 markets across the 36 states and the FCT, the programme has seen the detailed enumeration of over 7 million MSMEs and their owners.
“Beneficiaries receive GEEP loans by opening a bank account or operating a mobile wallet. They can only repay via the bank or vouchers as well as access the next loan on their mobile phones.
“With its use of technology to provide micro-credit loans and financial services, GEEP has been able to reach the grassroots, particularly to low-income segments of society, which has led to an increase in financial inclusion, development and growth.
“With the availability of biometrics and using BVN as digital collateral, mobile data capture, mobile wallets, and a 4,000-strong agent network, GEEP is able to properly target, document, profile, and deliver credit to over 2 million people.”
BOI’s Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Olukayode Pitan, received the award at the event alongside other senior government officials.