The goal to provide financial inclusion for all Nigerians regardless of social class and economic status has made giant strides across the country as countless traders, artisans and farmers continue to laud the Federal Government for giving them a way to access credit for their businesses through the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Program (GEEP).
The singular vision for GEEP has been to use its various economic empowerment products to take financial inclusion down to the grassroots, considering how invaluable the contributions of petty traders, artisans, and other trade types are to economic development. Their inability to get loans through traditional banking means has only served to show the importance and usefulness of the various GEEP products in order to spur an increase in income generation for this demographic. The added benefit of these loans being interest & collateral free and requiring just a mobile wallet/BVN is a testament to the Federal Government’s commitment to removing all barriers to financial inclusion.
The first phase of the roll out of various GEEP products has seen Tradermoni reach over 1.2 million beneficiaries while Marketmoni has reached over 350,000 beneficiaries. Not relenting on the target of at least 30,000 beneficiaries per state and the Federal Capital in the first phase of the TraderMoni roll out, the GEEP team continued its mandate with successful ramp ups across 10 states (Abia, Adamawa, Bayelsa, Borno, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Imo & Kebbi). The market activations in these states have allowed another 30,000 new traders come onboard the program as they take the first step towards boosting their businesses through GEEP.
The successes of these micro credit interventions by the Federal Government have not gone unnoticed by the international community and at the 63rd UN Commission on the Status of Women, the Executive Director of the Micro Enterprise Division of the Bank of Industry, Mrs Toyin Adeniji delivered a presentation which showed how GEEP is being deployed using technology and how beneficial it has been for empowering women who make up about 53% of beneficiaries across the various GEEP products.
Speaking on how GEEP is using technology to scale, Mrs. Adeniji explained that GEEP does not use paper-forms. Beneficiaries are registered via mobile forms on tablets and mobile devices. This enables real-time data quality check and verification and ensures that there are no errors in input and consequently, in interpretation. The complete elimination of paper-based registration has enabled the program scale fast; registering over 7m micro enterprises in less than 2 years. Furthermore, through data integration with multiple third-party data sources, GEEP is able to immediately validate over 43 data points for each beneficiary including but not limited to facial recognition, BVN, and store location.
In addition to the foregoing, Mrs Adeniji explained that TraderMoni disbursements are made to beneficiaries via mobile wallets, thus, allowing last-mile credit delivery to recipients in the most rural areas. This is in addition to working with an agent network of over 4,000 persons that are monitored with technology using geo fencing.
GEEP also uses technology to drive repayments; working with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), GEEP implemented the first successful application of the BVN as a digital collateral.
The presentation was made during a side event – FinTech as a Driver of Gender Inclusion – hosted by the Bank of Industry in partnership with Eyowo, Ford Foundation, GSMA and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICCWBO). This event was a major part of the UN’s Global Compact initiative which brought together over 600 business leaders and stakeholders to promote gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.
The Nigerian delegation which also included the SA to the President on NSIP, Mrs Maryam Uwais highlighted that over 53% of GEEP beneficiaries were women.
Nigeria was commended on its laudable efforts in driving financial inclusion and access to affordable credit via Social Investment programs like GEEP.
Faces of GEEP
When it comes to measuring the impact that these micro credit interventions have had, there is no one better to tell the story than the beneficiaries themselves. All over Nigeria, the impact stories could fill up an entire encyclopedia and there would still be so much left over.
We begin from Marna Market in Sokoto where we spoke to Mallam Amidu:
“My name is Amidu. I sell local household utensils such as mortar, pestle, calabash etc. The day I heard about Tradermoni, we just came into the market and we saw people registering fellow traders. We were curious so we had to go and ask the people registering what Tradermoni was about. The people registering told us it was a scheme by the Federal Government to empower traders and they asked us if we would like to register. We said yes and we got registered. I was so sure that I was going to get the money and when I finally got the money, I told all my friends. I was so shocked because no government has ever come to our aid like this. It will definitely empower my business, buy more stock and make more sales. I really have nothing to say to the Federal Government rather than to say I am very grateful. When I was registering, they told me it was a loan and I must pay back by making weekly deposits into the Tradermoni bank account. When I pay back, I get a higher loan. I am so grateful to the Federal Government.
“My name is Bello Mohammed. I sell local rice in Birnin Kebbi central market. I heard about Tradermoni right here in the market. When the Tradermoni team came, they registered many traders in the market. To our amazement, we got the loan the next day. I thought it wasn’t real till I saw the loan in my bank account. We were well informed that the initiative is a way to strengthen petty traders so I am definitely going to payback. After the repayment, I am sure of getting an increment of 15,000 naira and 20,000 naira afterwards as long as I comply with the repayment. I am grateful for being a part of the Tradermoni initiative. My thanks to the Federal Government.”
“I am Mrs Jumai Bello. I am a merchant of perfumes, air fresheners, scents and ointments. I learnt about the GEEP Marketmoni scheme through my association, the Development Exchange Centre (DEC) in Bauchi State. In my business, I have people who help me sell. I keep detailed records of every product. I applied for the Marketmoni loan and I got a loan of 50,000 Naira. I have used the loan to purchase more raw materials for my scents in bulk rather than buying in bits like I used to. There is not much else to say but to thank the Federal Government for this program. I hope to see more of this kind of people-oriented programs.”
“Before receiving GEEP Marketmoni, if I request for a 100,000 naira loan, I will have to deposit 7,500 naira before the loan is released. Aside from the high deposit, the interest on the 100,000 naira would be almost 22,000 naira. By the time I am done paying back the loan, my goods would have reduced drastically and it stops me from growing the business. Then I heard about the Federal Government loan and I applied through my cooperative. Before I got a Marketmoni loan, I would have little to no stock when customers request for products like detergent. I was given a form to fill. After that I went through the process of registration, after which I received a confirmation text through my phone. Within 2 weeks, I received an alert that the loan had been granted. The loan has been of tremendous help in growing my business. With this loan, I have peace. There was no stress in accessing the loan. It was easy. I thank the Government for this loan and I am looking forward to accessing the higher level of loan once I have fully repaid this loan.” – Mrs Sherifat aka Mama Kwara