The federal government and the Bank of Industry have begun disbursing interest-free loans to traders in various markets across Lagos.
The loan facility, tagged ‘Market Moni’ and ‘Trader Moni’, is part of the federal government’s financial inclusion drive.
The Executive Director, BoI, Toyin Adeniji, disclosed this at the commencement of the initiative and loan disbursements at Ojuwoye Market in Mushin, Lagos on Thursday.
The initiative saw over 500 petty traders receive between N10,000 and N100,000 to support their businesses.
The beneficiaries were encouraged to pay back within a period of six months from the date of receipt.
According to Ms. Adeniji, the drive will enable traders expand their businesses, and contribute to economic growth.
She said, “For instance, when a trader collects a N10,000 loan, they have six months to pay back. After then, they qualify for a loan of N15,000. When that is paid back, they qualify for N20,000 loan.
“We will take down the data of traders in all the markets we have visited. The idea is to use this to track those who collect these loans. We are transferring these funds directly to the mobile phones of beneficiaries, who in turn can then go to cash out from any Automated Teller Machine around the market they operate or transfer it straight into their bank accounts.”
She also added that the federal government recognises the contribution of petty traders to economic development.
“The government identified the fact that some of them may not have what the commercial banks may required to grant loan, so he support this initiative to help them grow their business”.
The Chief Operating Officer, Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, Uzoma Nwagba, also explained that the loans have been made flexible to accommodate as many petty traders as possible.
“This exercise will be a continuous one in markets across the country with agents stationed in such places to educate small business owners how to take advantage of it.
With this initiative we aim to expand financial inclusion because we have over 23 million Nigerians that are financially excluded, this administration aims to reach them so that they can grow their businesses,” he noted.