• Monday, June 17, 2024
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How BoI plans to empower 1.6m micropreneurs through GEEP 

enterprenuers

 

The Bank of Industry (BoI) has given details of how it intends to manage and disburse the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), which will start in earnest.

 

GEEP is one of the Federal Government’s social empowerment schemes, which also include Job Creation and Youth, Home Grown School Feeding Programme, Conditional Cash Transfer and STEM Bursary Programme.

 

Speaking at a media parley held in Lagos, Toyin Adeniji, executive director, financial inclusion, BoI, said the programme will be interest-free but will attract a one-time administrative fee of three to six percent.

 

According to Adeniji, the loan has a tenor of six months, delivered directly to beneficiaries in their market associations, adding that it will involve daily collection by agents, weekly pay back over duration of loan after two-week moratorium.

 

“All interested beneficiaries should belong to active and registered market associations, cooperative or trade group,” she said.

“Get your group to register with BoI on www.boi.ng/marketreg,” she added

She stressed that GEEP is targeted at operators of micro enterprises such as market women, traders, artisans, among others, adding that 1.6 million number is just for the beginning.

 

According to her, the Bank Verification Number (BVN) will do to this programme what collaterals does to the bigger programmes, pointing out that the development finance institution (DFI) will touch all the 774 local governments in the country to ensure all parts of the country benefit from GEEP.

“We have many unemployed people in the country. With the situation we have now, we have to deal with our MSME sector,” Adeniji added.

She said the programme has become necessary, given the fact that 60 percent of 37 million MSMEs in the country are women-owned.

She further stated that 80 percent of micro enterprises often cite difficulty in accessing credit as their primary challenge, which makes this programme necessary.

She emphasised that this is a specialised programme for micro enterprises, stating that N140 billion will be devoted to this scheme.

“Even though it is a government programme, it is not a gift or share of the national cake. The money has to be paid back. It is a loan.  In terms of paying back, we will work with intermediaries and agents to get back the money. The agents can be deposit money banks, micro finance banks, market administrators, network or mobile money providers, among others,” she explained.

Meanwhile the BoI says N426.8m has been approved for disbursement to 253 members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) under its Graduate Entrepreneurship Fund programme.

Waheed Olagunju, acting managing director, BoI, said this last Wednesday during a one-day stakeholders’ meeting on the Nigerian Youth Service Corps Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development programme (SAED), held in Lagos.
“A total of N426,796,078.66 has been approved for 253 NYSC members. Disbursements are already in progress and some of the loan beneficiaries are here at today’s cheque presentation ceremony,” he said.
Olagunju advised young entrepreneurs being empowered under the GEF scheme to make the best use of the opportunity to lift themselves and other youths out of poverty.
“They should realise that they are pioneer beneficiaries of this programme and should be models to other youths and be ambassadors of NYSC and BoI,” Olagunju said.
Speaking on the theme, ‘NYSC SAED Programme: Evaluating Youth Empowerment Through the NYSC Experience’, Sule Kazaure, director-general of NYSC, said the programme has recorded some milestone successes in its four years of existence and called on stakeholders to assist in improving it.
“We have sensitised over 600,000 corps members and trained over 250,000 corps members in entrepreneurship development and skills acquisition with over 2,000 trained corps members establishing their businesses and some are employers of labour.
“We are soliciting for material, technical, financial and logistic support to deal with the challenges we are facing. Our desire is to make it the vanguard and anchor of the economic regeneration and transformation of Nigeria,” Kazaure said.
Theresa Anosike, director, SAED said the programme has made significant progress in ensuring that corps members become self-reliant in line with one of the core objectives of the NYSC.
“The youth entrepreneurship development programme and the GEF have opened new opportunities for youth empowerment and national development. We are making efforts to take advantage of the opportunities for maximum benefit of the SAED programme,” Anosike said.
Kareema Babangida, while pledging the continued support of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development towards the laudable initiative of the NYSC advised the youths to cultivate the habit of saving and enjoined them to work in groups to minimise cost.

 

“Rather than operating alone, which is very difficult, try and operate in groups to cross guarantee each other. We are all adults and we shouldn’t be relying on the federal government to do everything for us. By the time you save a little from what you are getting even from the NYSC, people will be more inclined to support you,” said Babangida, who represented Audu Ogbeh, minister of agriculture and rural development.

 

ODINAKA ANUDU & CHINWE AGBEZE