One of the biggest challenges facing Nigeria is poverty. Eighty-two million Nigerians live on less than $1 per day, representing 40 percent of the population, according to a recent report done by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Unemployment rate is estimated at 23.1 percent, meaning that almost one out of every four Nigerians is unemployed. With high poverty and unemployment, many Nigerians live from hand to mouth.
This increase is most evident in the Northern part of Nigeria, especially the North East, where insurgence has displaced Nigerians from their homes and means of livelihood.
The Federal Government does not live in denial, which is why it introduced the Government Enterprise & Empowerment Program (GEEP).
The social investment programme is designed to cater to Nigerians at several levels: unemployed youths, petty traders, artisans, MSMEs and other categories of people that could do with an economic boost.
GEEP was set up to start the economic revival from the bottom of the pyramid by providing access to credit for Nigerians who contribute to the economy but have been neglected over the years. In four years, Tradermoni, Marketmoni & Farmermoni have provided loans ranging from N10,000 to N300,000 to petty traders, artisans, small businesses and farmers. This has seen over 2 million Nigerians significantly receive boosts to their businesses. GEEP has been implemented in 36 states of the federation and the FCT with a spread of over 2,600 market clusters.
These loans are not given out at random. Instead, they are done through existing clusters and associations in various markets across the country. This helps in proper tracking of the loans and provision of easy repayment options for the beneficiaries.
GEEP has also been able to provide this access to credit to IDPs in the North East. This has provided the IDPs with a viable way to get back on their feet while also contributing to economic development. To ensure that these loans get to the target audience, market visits are done across the country to engage with beneficiaries as they go through the process. This has seen many beneficiaries speak about the impact of GEEP’s microcredit scheme on their businesses:
Aisha Adamu is a local fruits seller at Jimeta Modern Market, Yola. The TraderMoni loan has helped her to expand her fruits businesses.
“I sell local fruits like ‘dabino’ here in Jimeta Market. A relative of mine that sells in the market too told me about Tradermoni. They were registering people in the market and they told me how to go about getting the loan. I did it and I got the money some days after. It didn’t appear to be real at first, but I confirmed it. It is very true. I am grateful to God and to the Federal Government for giving us this loan to strengthen our business. It will assist my business by helping me to buy more fruits for sale and also enable me to pay back,” she said, urging the government to continue with the programme.
Maimuna Abu sells roasted corn at Old Market, Kebbi State. She buys a few maize cobs every day to roast and sell. She explained what the loan has done for her: “When the Tradermoni team came to the market, I was among one of the first people to register and the next day, I got the loan. I can now buy more corns and also charcoal because apart from roasted corn, I also sell charcoal. The money has really helped me and I am so grateful for this financial assistance that has been given to me.”
Another beneficiary Ali Ibrahim sells foodstuff at Monday Market, Maiduguri. He has been doing this for four years now. He said the loan has helped him in many ways.
“On a fateful day, I came into the market to do business as usual when I saw the TraderMoni team. They were registering people and I got registered too. After some days, I received an SMS from TraderMoni confirming that I can receive the loan. I rushed to the where the people giving the loan were in the market to confirm whether it was true or not. Luckily for me, it was confirmed true and I was so excited. I got the money, and I have been using it for my business. What I have to say to the Federal Government is ‘thank you’ and keep up the good work so that other people can benefit from it too.”
Makinde Helen sells palm oil at Oja Bisi market in Ekiti State. She has been in the business for over 10 years. Before she accessed the GEEP micro credit, she had been making little profit from palm oil because she sold in small portions.
One day, she came to the market and overheard women saying that the Federal
Government was helping petty traders.
“They told me that the government wanted to add to our capital so we don’t sit idle at
home,” she said.
“One of the people came to register me. They asked me for my name, phone number
and took a picture of me and my goods. They said I will get a text message the next
day. I was so surprised I got the text message the next day and they came to give us
the money,” she testified.
Helen got N10,000, which has helped her get two extra kegs without having to buy on
“This means I can now buy three kegs. Also, my profit has increased. In fact, I am so happy,” she further said.