The Federal Government and the Bank of Industry on Tuesday gave out interest-free loans to traders in various markets across Lagos.
The loan facility, tagged ‘Market Moni’ and ‘Trader Moni’, would see petty traders receive between N10,000 and N100,000 to support their businesses, which they can pay back within a period of six months from the date of receipt.
Speaking during the commencement of the initiative at the Ojuwoye Market in Mushin, Lagos, the Executive Director, BoI, Toyin Adeniji, said the move would empower market men and women to expand their businesses, and contribute to the overall growth of the national economy through a significant rise in commercial activities.
While explaining that the scheme was targeted at a minimum of two million beneficiaries in the coming weeks and months, Adeniji said that traders needed not to know anybody at the BoI to access the interest-free loans.
She said, “We have taken down the data of traders in all the markets we have visited. The idea is to use this to track those who collect these loans. We are transferring these funds directly to the mobile phones of beneficiaries, who in turn can then go to cash out from any Automated Teller Machine around the market they operate or transfer it straight into their bank accounts.
“For instance, when a trader collects a N10,000 loan, they have six months to pay back. After then, they qualify for a loan of N15,000. When that is paid back, they qualify for N20,000 loan. After that, they can cross from ‘Market Moni’ to ‘Trader Moni’, which starts from N50,000.
“This is a national programme that will give traders across the country equal opportunity to access loans. It is an empowerment scheme from the Federal Government aimed at helping petty traders expand their income levels.”
The Chief Operating Officer, Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, Uzoma Nwagba, while explaining that the initiative was part of the Federal Government’s financial inclusion drive, said the loans had been made flexible to accommodate as many petty traders as possible.
According to him, the exercise will be a continuous one in markets across the country with agents stationed in such places to educate small business owners how to take advantage of it.