• Saturday, April 20, 2024
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How Lagos market trader money is empowering micro and small business

How Lagos market trader money is empowering micro and small business

With inflation taking a toll on businesses and threatening to keep many out of operation, the introduction of the Market Trader Money initiative by the Lagos state government to empower micro and small businesses to survive the current economic crisis could not have come at a better time.

The initiative which is empowering 15,000 micro and small businesses in the food system across markets in the state with N50,000 each, is designed to alleviate poverty in the country’s commercial centre.

Initiated by Babatunde Sanwo-Olu, Governor of Lagos recently, with an understanding that millions of Lagosians are at the base of the pyramid and active in commercial activity but do not have the opportunity to easily access finance.

These hardworking traders are less attractive to the money deposit banks because they have little or no financial track record or collateral, and some barely have formal identities. However, they are actively trading and in dire need of capital.

According to Sanwo-Olu, the market trader money initiative is an opportunity to properly identify and capture these Lagosians who are mostly petty traders and support them while onboarding those without bank accounts into the formal financial system.

The governor said the project was conceptualized as a stop-gap measure to empower small-scale traders in the food systems by providing them financial support to expand their businesses, thereby fostering economic growth and improving the lives of many within the state.

He also stated that the initiative will ensure sustainable livelihoods and facilitate business expansion for 15,000 traders who occupy a strategic position in the state’s economic pyramid and food distribution network.

Lagos with an estimated population of 24 million people and a food system transaction valued at N6 trillion annually, is working to establish a dynamic food market system under its Food System Transformation Agenda. This creates opportunities for players in the state’s food system.

So far, 57 agricultural field officers serving in the Local Government Areas (LGAs) and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in collaboration with the Iyaloja/Babaloja general have identified 15,000 petty traders at the base of the pyramid across markets for the grant.

Speaking on the selection process, the governor noted that the beneficiaries were selected through a methodical process targeted at 200 in each LGA and LCDA in addition to 50 beneficiaries that were selected by the Iyalo

Speaking on the selection process, the governor noted that the beneficiaries were selected through a methodical process targeted at 200 in each LGA and LCDA in addition to 50 beneficiaries that were selected by the Iyaloja/Babaloja general in each LGA and LCDA making a total of 14,250 market traders.

The remaining 750 beneficiaries were identified from markets within the barracks and military formations across the states, he said.

To ensure fairness in the selection process while demonstrating the spirit of Lagos as being home to all, Sanwo-Olu said the beneficiaries were drawn from across all the geopolitical zones of the country with 11,039 from the Southwest, 914 from the South-east, 868 from the South-south, 1,710 from North-central, 373 from the North-west and 107 from the North-east.

Women account for 74 percent of the beneficiaries and men for the remaining 26 percent, 33.7 percent of the total are below 40 years while 66.3 percent are 40 and above.

In the same vein, Abisola Olusanya, commissioner for Agriculture said the Lagos Market Trader Money initiative is part of the government’s efforts towards ensuring sustainable livelihoods and wealth creation for traders across the state.

She added that it is also part of the state’s commitment to the development of the downstream segment of food & agricultural value chains which centres on markets and market access.

“This is because Lagos is the largest market city-state in sub-Saharan Africa,” she said.

“The support that would be extended today is targeted at expanding the capacity of the beneficiaries to off-take more produce from our farmers thereby catalysing increased food production in and outside the state.”

According to her, the support is targeted at expanding the capacity of the beneficiaries to off-take more produce from farmers, thereby catalyzing increased food production in and outside the state.

Also speaking, Folasade Tinubu-Ojo, the Iyaloja-general of Lagos appreciated the governor for the good gesture to market men and women in the state. She enjoined the beneficiaries to make good use of the grant given to them by the state to scale their businesses.

The initiative is jointly implemented by the Lagos Ministry of Agriculture and local governments in collaboration with market leaders across all 57 LGAs and LCDAs.

Selected traders will need to provide their phone numbers, bank accounts for those that have, National Identification Number and address to be able to collect the grant.

Seen making impact

The initiative has received a lot of commendation from Lagosians and traders in the state since its launch.

Research has shown that access to financial services is a way to reduce poverty; when banking deposits increase, more credit is made available which in turn drives consumption and investment, leading to economic growth through the proliferation of jobs.

If Lagos and Nigeria will move ahead, it is Nigerians—in the marketplace, media, entertainment, agriculture, ICT, everywhere—that will push the country forward.

With ambitious initiatives such as Market Trader Money, Lagos is on track to tackle poverty, accelerate growth and improve the livelihoods of people at the base of the pyramid.

Taibat Borokini, Iyaloja of Mushin LCDA said the grant is a great help to traders in the state as it will support many to expand their businesses, especially with surging prices.

“It will help traders to buy goods as many are struggling to buy enough items for their stores due to the constant surge in prices. But with this grant they can buy more goods,” Borokini said.

Also, Folashade Salako, Iyaloja of Ojodu LCDA, appreciated the governor for the scheme, saying it will support several struggling traders in the state.

“With the current economic challenges, most traders do not have sufficient capital which they can’t buy anything with. But with this grant, several of them will buy more goods and expand their businesses,” she said.

“It will not only benefit their businesses, it will help them provide for their families.”

A provision trader at Iyana-Ejigbo Market who simply gave his name as Eziegbo appreciated the governor for the support and for remembering traders in the state amid amplifying cost of living.

He stated that the grant will enable him to buy more goods in his shop, noting that the grant will help lots of traders looking for finance to expand.

Yetunde Fatai a tomato and pepper trader at 174 Battalion barracks, Odogunyan, Ikorodu, a beneficiary of the grant commended Governor Sanwo-Olu for the grant, saying it will help revive her dying business.