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How GEEP impacts lives of Nigeria’s poor

Beneficiaries of the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) say it is positively impacting their lives and changing their life’s stories.

They say GEEP, an initiative of the Federal Government of Nigeria aimed at providing financial inclusion and access to micro-credit for Nigerians at the bottom of the economic pyramid, has succeeded in on-boarding them into the formal financial system.

They confess that the programme has helped them have access to micro credit, raising their revenues and profits.

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 credit.

“This means I can now buy three kegs. Also, my profit has increased. In fact, I am so happy,” she further said.

At Markudi Modern Market, Benue State, Agbo Nnenna, who is a petty trader, said the loan has made positive impact on her business.

“The person that registered me told me that I have to pay back the money within six months. So I started paying back immediately. I have finished repaying the N10,250 . As I finished paying, I got a message that I am qualified to get N15,000,” she said.

“The message said I should look for any TraderMoni agent in the market to collect the money. The next day, I saw the agents in the market and I got the N15,000 that same day. I want to tell the people that have not paid to pay because it is real. They didn’t give us this money to ‘eat’ and sit at home. They gave it to us so we can hustle and improve our business. Once you pay back, they will give you the 15,000,” she counseled.

She further said that the programme is g8ood and has helped her and many other people in this market.

MSMEs contribute 50 percent to Nigeria’s GDP and accounts for 86.3 percent of jobs (59.6million jobs in 2017).

A national survey of MSMEs conducted by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) in 2017 said the number of MSMEs rose from 37 million to 41.5 million between 2013 and 2017. Micro businesses make up 41.469 million of this number, representing 99.8 percent of the total.  However, many micro businesses have no access to micro credits despite their huge contributions to the country’s GDP, employment and entrepreneurship. But GEEP is changing the situation.

Jumai Bello sells ointment in Bauchi State. She said she got N50,000 from GEEP, which has transformed her business.

“I learnt about GEEP Marketmoni through my cooperative association. Our cooperative usually gives us loans but it is a very small amount due to the number of people who want the loans,” she said.

“In my business, I give small shop owners in the market to help me sell the ointments. I

keep records of all the ointments I have given for sale to help me remember what I will get in return and calculate my profit. I used the N50,000 to buy the materials for my ointments in bulk quantity rather than in bits like I used to. It helped me to produce more and also give more shop owners to help me sell,” she said.

Bello is paying back the loan now. She intends to apply for N100,000 once she finishes paying back.

On what she plans to use the N100,000 for, she says she needs a machine.

“I want to use the money to buy a machine that will help me produce ointments faster. I really like this programme and I hope that the Federal Government will continue to do more people- oriented programmes like this,” she said.

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