The Bank of Industry (BoI), has debunked allegations that the TraderMoni was being used to buy votes from beneficiaries, adding that many of the people who accessed the scheme are already repaying the loans.Indeed, the bank noted that the recovered loans were being ploughed back into the system for further on-lending to willing beneficiaries.
TraderMoni was one of the social investment programmes (SIP), developed under the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), targeting petty traders who do not meet the more stringent starting requirements of BVN, bank accounts, market associations and cooperatives required for bigger MarketMoni loans.
The Bank disclosed that it has recorded 1.2million new entrants into the formal financial system as new operators of bank accounts or mobile wallets, under its Trader Moni scheme.The bank said it has so far, disbursed loans totalling N12billion to the 1.2 million beneficiaries of the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme(GEEP).
Defending the TraderMoni scheme with regards to the proximity of the implementation to the election, Executive Director, Micro Enterprises, Bank of Industry (BoI), Mrs Toyin Adeniji, said GEEP was initiated in 2016 and first mobile loan was disbursed in 2017.
Commenting on loans repayment, she said the bank has set up a robust infrastructure to aid repayments and recovery of loans, adding that, “GEEP loans can be repaid by walking into commercial banks and making payments over the counter, paying at local agents of our aggregators or our mobile representatives and by purchasing of GEEP vouchers in your marketplace and recharging your loans account through recharge cards”.
Adeniji however confirmed that the bank had also seen a high uptake in repayment since it commenced a push and provided a wide array of options for loans repayment.She said membership of any political party or ownership of Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) are not criteria for accessing TraderMoni loans.
“Under no circumstance is a PVC or any political indication requested when applying for these loans. We give loans to all qualified Nigerians regardless of faith, gender, status or political leanings,” she said.
Adeniji explained that since the launch of the GEEP programme in 2016, it has recorded major strides in areas of access to finance as today, 1.5million Nigerians had received capital that was hitherto unavailable to them before now, stressing that the loans cover 2,600 markets and clusters across the 36 states of the country and FCT with over 4000 agents on ground .
She explained that the demography of beneficiaries showed that about 53 per cent of GEEP beneficiaries were women, while 46 per cent of other beneficiaries were below the age of 35. Adeniyi added that the bank decided not to go through market leaders in the disbursement of the loans in order to ensure that anyone qualified got the loan and at the same time, remove layers of distortions and bureaucracies in the whole process.