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Nairaland / General / Re: Sunday, February 24, 2019 - Press Release By Apc Presidential Campaign Council by hadassah701: 3:34pm On Feb 24, 2019
Galadima violated the law, he needs to rot in jail.
Nairaland / General / BOI Disburses Loan To Tradermoni Beneficiaries As They Repay Previous Loan. by hadassah701: 9:00am On Feb 22, 2019
BoI disburses second loan to Tradermoni beneficiaries as they repay

The Bank of Industry (BoI) has begun to disburse loans of N15,000 to Tradermoni beneficiaries who have repaid their first N10,000 loan.

In a statement released on Thursday, the bank said it has recorded high repayment of loans which it attributed to a flexible weekly loan repayment plan of N430 per week.

According to the bank, beneficiaries paid back using PayDirect made available at commercial bank branches across the country and through repayment scratch cards procured from TraderMoni agents deployed across 2,260 markets.

The federal government had set up the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) to improve funding made available to small and medium scale enterprises.

Data from the BoI showed that SMEs in the country received 0.04% of banks loans in 2017 despite employing 84% of the workforce.

“Through its signature products — MarketMoni, FarmerMoni, and TraderMoni — the programme has reached over 1.5 million Nigerians through small loans. These loans, starting from N10,000 up to N300,000, have helped beneficiaries to transform their businesses,” BoI said.

“If these beneficiaries repay their first loan as promised, they immediately qualify for the second level N15,000 loan.

“After repaying the second loan, these beneficiaries will qualify for N20,000 loan, then N25,000 loan, and finally they graduate into the MarketMoni loan program where they can get up to N100,000 interest-free, collateral-free loan.

“Despite the fears of traditional lenders on giving loans to MSMEs — in part due to lack of formal identification, limited financial track record, and no collateral — TraderMoni continues to achieve success with loan repayments.

“By requiring that beneficiaries seeking higher loan amounts provide a bank account (and BVN), the TraderMoniGEEP entrepreneurs will be on-boarded into the formal financial services sector.”

Aishetu Adamu, a condiment and medicine seller at Bolori market Maiduguri, capital of Borno state, is one of the beneficiaries of the initial loan of N10,000 that migrated to the next phase.

She said the initial loan was helpful in promoting her business which was the major reason her repayment was prompt.

She is part of the many beneficiaries in Lagos, Osun, Kano and Borno who have paid back their first, and gotten their second level loans.
Nairaland / General / Tradermoni Set To Begin #150000 Disbursements As More Beneficiaries Pay Back by hadassah701: 10:01am On Feb 12, 2019
TraderMoni set to begin N15,000 Disbursements as more Beneficiaries pay back
By BusinessDay On Feb 11, 2019

With hopes of higher loan values, many beneficiaries of the TraderMoni N10,000 loan have completed their repayments just as many others have started the repayment process.

Access to Capital is one of the major challenges Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) face in Nigeria.
Historically, less than 1% of bank loans have gone to Nigeria’s SME sector. This is why the TraderMoni loans target petty traders and artisans at the base of the pyramid; the program aims to enable the growth of this sector by providing easy access to affordable credit and by making more petty traders and artisans financially included so they can access other financial products to help their businesses scale.
Speaking with one of the beneficiaries,Ogunnubi Folashade, a beverage seller in Iwo market – Osun state, attested to how easy the repayment process was. In her words,“It was easy for me to pay back the loan, I met with one of the TraderMoni agents who sold the repayment scratch card to me. I loaded it just the same way I load airtime on my phone and that was how I repaid my entire loan”. She is one of several people who have paid back their loans in anticipation of the N15,000 disbursements. She expressed her intentions to use the next loan to continue to grow her business citing how the first was very helpful. “I was able to increase my stock by purchasing the goods in larger quantities and reduced wholesale prices” she said.

Mrs Folashade stated emphatically that the loan has helped many of her counterparts in petty trade. She expressed her confidence in beneficiaries’ willingness to pay back as every one of them anticipated the change in level they can experience with increasing credit worthiness and access to greater financial support.

Another beneficiary, Adamu Usman, a fish trader in Sabon GariJanguza market, Kano State also confirmed the ease of the repayment process. For him, repayment represents the opportunity to grow his business, and possibly expand into other goods.

The Tradermoni loans graduate from N10,000 to N15,000, N20,000, N50,000 and N100,000. Beneficiaries automatically qualify for the next tranche as they back the preceding loan amount and to facilitate easy repayment, the Bank of Industry has made available a plethora of repayment options: one of which is to repay into any commercial bank in the country; all they have to do is walk into any bank and inform the bank of their intent to pay their “BOI-GEEP” loan on PayDirect. Another option is to purchase repayment scratch cards readily available with the TraderMoni agents deployed to the 2260markets currently covered. These cards are currently available in N430, being the estimated weekly repayment proposed for the first N10,000 loans. However, sources at the Bank of Industry confirm that the cards will also be rolled out for the repayment of MarketMoni loans.

MarketMoni is the second of the three GEEP loan products. It is targeted at more established traders and, as with all GEEP products, provides interest free, collateral free loans to traders. However, unlike TraderMoni loans where bank accounts are not required as a criteria for eligibility, MarketMoni beneficiaries must provide their BVN to be considered for the loan facility. The BVN serves as a digital collateral to drive repayments compliance. MarketMoni loans start at 50,000 and go up to 300,000. As beneficiaries pay back the preceding value, they immediately qualify for the next.

Beneficiaries are happy at the fact that the repayment process has been made so easy through the purchase of a scratch cards. As such, they do not need to go extra miles and spend longer hours on queues at the bank, all that is needed can be reached within their immediate market community, and in some markets, through the same agents that registered them for the loan.

To encourage more repayments and just as designed, our sources at the Bank of Industry (BOI) confirm that the Bank is set to begin disbursing the second tranche of the loan to qualified beneficiaries. This is great news for those who have paid back, and for many others who are on the repayment journey.

GEEP, through its loan products, is proving to be a workable model for expanding financial inclusion, and for boosting the MSME sector with affordable credit.
Nairaland / General / Criticism Against Tradermoni, Sign It Is Working by hadassah701: 4:05pm On Feb 11, 2019
Criticisms against Tradermoni, sign it is working, says Enelamah

The minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechuchwu Enelamah has said the various criticisms by members of the opposition against ‘Tradermoni’ is a sign that the scheme is working.
Enelamah made the remark at an interactive session on the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) in Lagos.

Tradermoni is one of the government’s initiative under the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), a programme targeted towards awarding collateral-free loans to two million petty traders across the country.
Enelamah’s remark may not be unconnected with comments by Auwal Rafsanjani, the chairman of Transparency International Nigeria, who described the federal government’s Tradermoni scheme as a vote-buying plot to induce voters ahead of the 2019 general elections.

It was learnt that similar position was also echoed by opposition political parties.
The minister who was speaking on the social intervention programmes of the government said: “I know that there have been a bit of negative publicity by political jobbers or opponents; but for me, it is a sign that it is working.

“We have been going into the rural areas to the provide these support whether is it ‘farmer moni’ or ‘ market moni’ or ‘Tradermoni’, and they are saying, we are sharing money close to elections. Are we suppose to stop because election is approaching? Meanwhile, this is a programme that has been running for three years.”
He said even if some of the current government officials do not return after the elections, he expects the programmes to continue, noting that businesses don’t turn over.
Nairaland / General / See The Companies Partnering With Tradermoni by hadassah701: 5:20pm On Feb 04, 2019
Since the beginning of the Boko Haram crisis in the North Eastern part of Nigeria, thousands have been affected, with many Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) forced to live temporarily at camps across the country. While the military continues its efforts to secure the country, these displaced Nigerians continue life at the camps even as they wait to be resettled back to their homes. Displaced from their homes, disconnected from their daily jobs, many Internally Displaced Persons are stuck at the bottom of the economic ladder and remain part of extremely poor Nigerians, estimated at 80 million according to recent reports. Camp residents remain unbanked for several reasons; chief among them being loss of identification documents during unexpected crisis that ravaged their communities

In 2016, the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) was initiated by the Federal Government with the knowledge that millions of Nigerians at the base of the economic pyramid lack access to credit facilities. Many of these Nigerians are at IDP camps, displaced from their daily sources of income and uncertain about their future. To reach this population in desperate need of loans with which they can transform their lives, in January 2019, the TraderMoni team visited Bocolis, Teacher’s Village, Custom’s House, and Learning Centre, all IDP camps in Maiduguri, Borno state.

At the camps, TraderMoni enumerators met with thousands of IDPs, educated them about the TraderMoni scheme and enumerated them by taking their details especially their phone number. Through a partnership with the Bankers Committee, a group that represents all Nigerian commercial banks and Airtel Nigeria, camp residents without mobile phones were given TraderMoni branded mobile phones and free sim cards through which they were able to access their mobile wallets. After this, they received the initial ten thousand Naira TraderMoni loans.

Through a simple technology-driven process, largely tied to a phone number which also doubles as a mobile wallet, database that contains the names and contact details of every beneficiary, TraderMoni is not only including them in the financial ladder but giving them seeds with which they can start a new life.

When repaid, the interest and collateral free loans, also provides an avenue for these beneficiaries to access larger loans, giving them better opportunities to improve their lives. If these beneficiaries repay their first loan as promised, they immediately qualify for N15,000. After payback of the second loan, they qualify for a N20,000 loan, and then N50,000, and then N100,000. Through a methodical and gradual process, their businesses will grow in an organic manner. The beneficiaries promised to repay.

As the country continues its race to financial inclusion, Nigerians at the IDP camps are not left behind.

“These initiatives are aimed at expanding financial inclusion because we have over 23 million Nigerians who are financially excluded, as this administration aims to reach them so that they can grow their businesses,” he said that so far 12 billion Naira has been disbursed in loans to a total of 1.2 million people; the target is to disburse a total of 20 billion Naira to 2 million people across Nigeria.
Nairaland / General / 10 Reasons Why Tradermoni Is Not Vote Buying by hadassah701: 4:41pm On Jan 30, 2019
1* TraderMoni is for petty traders who are the largest network in commercial value chain yet banks won't give them loan without collateral.

2* TraderMoni is a FG project approved by NASS and not a political party project

3* TraderMoni does not require PVC or party membership card

4* Tradermoni is a continuous project, after the petty traders pay back the 10k they can grow the funds up to 100k, so it goes beyond the election period

5* These Loans will not only help the local traders to expand their businesses, but also change their standard of living thus aiding in poverty alleviation and stability in the country’s economic outlook.

6* Banks have high interest rates and this petty traders can’t afford to take such loans and pay back with interest, TraderMoni is a solution to that as it is a collateral free loan

7* TraderMoni started in 2016 but fully took off after NASS approved it.

8* This programme aims at reducing short-term poverty by direct cash transfers and fight long-term poverty by increasing human capital among the poor through conditional cash transfers.

9* Buhari has made several efforts to improve the economic well-being and welfare of the poorest Nigerians. TheTraderMoni initiative is part of the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Program (GEEP)

10* It is a federal government empowerment scheme to help alleviate poverty in Nigeria by empowering traders and artisans.
Nairaland / General / Obasanjo's Attack On Tradermoni Reflects His Ignorance -presidency by hadassah701: 8:44am On Jan 23, 2019
Laolu Akande Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President
The statement purportedly attributed to former president Olusegun Obasanjo regarding Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, and the Federal Government’s TraderMoni micro-credit scheme if, indeed true and accurate, is most unfortunate, according to the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media & Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande.

While responding to media inquiries regarding the former president’s comments over the weekend, Akande noted that “it is either that the former leader is ignorant of the true workings of Trader Moni and the role of the Vice President in its implementation or perhaps he is on a mischievous mission.”

According to Akande, the former President has demonstrated “a surprising but complete misunderstanding of the workings of TraderMoni, that is if we assume there is no mischief intended. “
Firstly, the Vice President does not personally distribute money during his visits to the markets. He goes there to assess the progress of the implementation and to create awareness for a programme designed to meet the financing need of 2 million petty traders across the country in the first instance.

Secondly, while one will not bother to further address the issue of timing of the implementation since such issues are now known to be political posturing, it is important to note that TraderMoni is being actively implemented across all states of the federation and the FCT. It is not only Lagos and Abuja as was insinuated.

These petty traders at the bottom of the economic ladder, with an inventory often less than N5,000, are beneficiaries of the TraderMoni scheme which provides N10,000 collateral/interest-free loans to them, empowerment that improves their small businesses, their families, while also contributing significantly to the economy.

Thirdly, in what is certainly a curious comment, the former President has also been quoted as describing the TraderMoni scheme as idiotic. To label such people-friendly scheme as idiotic is not only an absurdity, it is also an affront to the sensibilities of these hard working Nigerians, the beneficiaries of the micro-credit scheme.

For emphasis, the Bank of Industry implements the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, GEEP, one part of our Social Investment Programme.
Enumeration Agents have been engaged to visit the markets and other points where petty traders are found to confirm that they are traders and also take their biometric information for recording purposes. After the enumeration, the N10,000 collateral free loans are then disbursed electronically through the petty traders’ phones.

TraderMoni is designed to meet the needs of the larger population of petty traders at the bottom of the pyramid who do not meet the more stringent criteria of BVN, bank accounts, market associations, cooperatives, required for bigger Market Moni loans.
Under GEEP – which has MarketMoni, FarmerMoni and TraderMoni, at least 1.5 million Nigerians are already beneficiaries of the three-pronged approach of GEEP, while N-Power has created jobs for 500,000 young Nigerians graduates, besides non-graduates.

Also, almost 300,000 Nigerians have benefitted from the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), which is given to the poorest and most vulnerable among us, and over 9.2 million school pupils are being fed a free meal daily in 26 states under the Home Grown School Feeding Programme.

Former Nigeria president Olusegun Obasanjo
It bears repetition that higher economic growth potentials are associated with lower income inequality. This makes a most overwhelming case for welfare payments like the social investment schemes like the TraderMoni/MarketMoni schemes. Such a micro-credit scheme provides a higher rate of inclusion into the financial bracket and is crucial in lifting hardworking people out of poverty as has been the case in other countries like India and Brazil.

Fourthly, the former president also rehashed discredited claims suggesting that TraderMoni beneficiaries were required to tender their PVCs, and questioned the timing of the implementation.

Let me, therefore, state again that beneficiaries of TraderMoni are not required to show their Personal Voters Cards (PVCs) or any document indicating their political affiliations to qualify for the loans. This is why the enumeration is done in the open markets and wherever the traders ply their trade. This issue has been addressed several times by the Presidency in the public space. Therefore the former president’s alleged comments smirk of outright mischief as it regurgitates blatant falsehood.

Equally, if the former president had conducted a simple act of diligence, he would have found that the National Assembly had approved this programmes and budgeted for them duly.

When President Muhammadu Buhari came into office, one of the major hinges of this administration was to uplift the common man out of poverty and ensure the welfare of ordinary Nigerians. TraderMoni is one of such schemes conceived in 2016 under the Social Investment Programme of this administration.

Being a former president, Chief Obasanjo ordinarily should appreciate the impact of such far-reaching social investment schemes, which has provided what is now the largest social safety net for millions of Nigerians and is unprecedented in the nation’s history.

Again, the former president’s attack on TraderMoni and the person of the Vice President is an indicator that he may be wittingly or unwittingly playing to the sinister script of the opposition party to spread falsehood and attack the social investment programmes of the Buhari administration, which champions such impactful schemes, and which is now attracting the praise and commendation of Nigerians everywhere.

It is pertinent to state that the false allegations against TraderMoni raised again by the former president is sadly a rehash of baseless claims previously made by leading chieftains of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, whose record of profligacy, corruption and mismanagement clearly show it has no agenda to uplift the common man or improve the lives of Nigerians.

Finally, attacks such as this on a scheme that benefits the masses of our people is a direct attack on the people and this kind of conduct does not reflect very well on a former president but is only self-denigrating and of no public value. As is already now obvious, the generality of the Nigerian people will not only reject that attack but will also condemn its source. We, therefore, urge the former president to be far more circumspect and more public-spirited in his utterances going forward.
Nairaland / General / Re: Empowering Nigeria’s Economic Drivers, MSMEs, Through Tradermoni by hadassah701: 10:41am On Jan 10, 2019
Keep up with the good work. Nigeria is unto next level things
Nairaland / General / Tradermoni Is Not Vote Buying - Uzoma Nwagba Part 2 by hadassah701: 1:36pm On Jan 08, 2019
The GEEP programme has a strict governance structure which emanates from the Federal Government through the office of the Vice President. The money is placed in the Bank of Industry (BOI) which has been asked to execute the program. There are signed agreements between the Federal Government and BOI on how the funds will be used, and how the usage must be reported. In the process of our data capture, we also go the full length to ensure that we are compliant with the data points required, and that there are no “ghost” beneficiaries. The project works with a number of private-sector partners whose job it is to enumerate candidates for the loans. We use the private sector to greatly minimize any political interpretation or undertone. After the verification, disbursement and repayment management is done by BOI. Every beneficiary is essentially a loan obligor to BOI.
The Federal Government made an explicit decision to run the program through BOI and to ensure direct engagement with every single beneficiary. This is the reason we have over 4,000 agents wake up every morning and go to the field to have a personal interaction with the traders, capture their information, and sync the data back to the BOI so we can verify and make payments. So we end up with a system where we can tell you everybody who has benefited from the project, their exact location, their picture with the trade, the specific loan amount, when they are scheduled to pay back, how much paid so far, and so on. We also went through several series of scrutiny from the National Assembly before the program budget was approved – and our reporting of the programme has also been held to the highest of standards.
There have been rumors in the news about the GEEP initiatives, especially TraderMoni, being a Vote-Buying scheme of the federal government; how do you respond to that?
First the GEEP program started in 2016, so this is our third year of operation. Our first loan registration was in May 2016. Since then we have been running the GEEP program nonstop across the country. Also we must note that it is the direct field learnings while implementing MarketMoni that led to the introduction of the TraderMoni which started as a mobile-based loan product and kicked off in September 2017. The point is that GEEP program did not start in election season. Very far from it. As at November 2017, over a year ago, even before the country cared who was running for office or not, we had disbursed over 300,000 loans.
Moreover, for those who still push the vote-buying narrative, I always ask: is GEEP (either MarketMoni, FarmerMoni, or TraderMoni) a wrong programme? In other words, is it impacting millions of Nigerians or not? If it is, then why would there be a wrong time to do the right thing? If a pepper seller sees credit she needs, shouldn’t she access it while it is available?
Think about this even more deeply, the vote-buying narrative could even be another patronizing expression of our middle-class privilege and we must always check this. As a middle-class entrepreneur, or business mogul, you can walk into BOI today to borrow funds to grow your business. You walk out with your dignity intact, and possibly with a loan. Sometimes these loans run into tens of millions of Naira, and billons of Naira. Yet, nobody accuses you of being vote-bought, even when you are borrowing the money of a government institution or project. On what basis therefore do we assume that those at the bottom of the pyramid are also not intelligent economic actors who can make rational decisions to better their lives? These are human beings with goals, aspirations, and dignity like you and I. They are not genetically predisposed to bad decisions, or so vulnerable that they would just be bought. Nothing could be further from the truth. If they have a better life, our job is done.
Since I resumed this job three years ago, until now, I have never set my eyes on a Permanent Voters Card (PVC) of any beneficiary. Not one. I would know. There is no such. As a matter of fact, some of the states with our largest beneficiaries are not even states that politically align with the party in power. As long as you are a Nigerian petty trader, you are eligible!

Still on rumors, some TraderMoni beneficiaries have complained of getting less than the N10,000 promised; and reports have suggested the deducted sums were taken out by Iya-Lojas and other value chain players. How is the GEEP team responding to this?
We are aware of those instances and are taking the necessary actions. With a programme of this scale, targeting a segment of the population that is highly uneducated, we know that some people would try to exploit the process and take advantage of unsuspecting beneficiaries. We have even seen instances of people who do not work for the programme, walking into a market with mobile phone tablets and posing as TraderMoni agents. They charge N200 per person who comes to have their data and picture “captured,” whereas this is all just a show.
This is one of those issues where our first reaction has to been to over-communicate, to make it clear to the public and our beneficiaries that TraderMoni is FREE! We do this above the line (mass media), but also below the line (individually to each candidate via SMS and automated voice call in local languages). They should never pay to get registered, and certainly never pay to access the funds from their mobile wallet. We also prosecute and make a public show of any of our agents who engage in any fraudulent activity, and we will be doing much more of this – including blocking their BVNs. As we continue to do more and more of these, we know that, at a point, the public would become our own police. They will report, apprehend, and even prosecute anyone caught in sharp practices. This is already happening.
We have a responsibility to stay ahead of the fraud by not only dealing decisively with it but by also spreading information. If there is one thing I would like to get out of this interview, it is that the readers should report ANY suspected exploitation of Nigerians trying to access this loan. Sometimes it is the market leaders who need to be reported.

One of the goals of the GEEP program is to promote financial inclusion; how does the program achieve this?
It’s quite simple. Financial inclusion is about getting people to use financial services as a habit. By so doing they are building documented histories and track records that will allow them access more financial services: take more loans, buy pension or insurance, save towards their goals and other financial services. However, this requires significant behavioral change, even on the part of the people who would be obvious beneficiaries. They need to stop putting money under their beds. They need to learn to pool resources and increase their purchasing power. They need to open mobile wallets and bank accounts, and use them. They need to have a radical shift in their mindset, and build trust in the financial system to enable them raise their profile. You cannot wish financial inclusion into existence at all. It is a very difficult effort that combines behavioral science with finance, technology, education, while make it all so simple that a grandma can rely on it. GEEP removes the first critical barrier, which is the barrier of engagement. We give you a strong reason to want to try. You can only get our loans by opening a bank account or operating a mobile wallet. You can only repay via the bank or vouchers, no cash. You can only access the next one on your mobile phone. We combine this with increasing investment in communication and education. You cannot achieve financial inclusion via marketing campaigns or market storms, asking people to open bank accounts. You have to give them a strong incentive to do so, and to continue to operate the account. GEEP has been able to achieve this. I call it the convening power of capital.
We are quite pleased with the results so far. Over half of our 1.5 million beneficiaries are first-time operators of bank accounts or mobile wallets. And we see them use those tools even after the loans, and this encourages us. We are committed to targeting everybody who is not financially included. We admit it is going to be a long journey to bring the over 23 million Nigerians and micro-enterprises that are financially excluded or under-included. However, we are also conscious it is an ecosystem so we don’t need to interact with everybody; if it works well for different cohorts of people, it will become contagious.

Tell us about your background and how the GEEP journey started for you.
My background has been in finance and technology, although my first degree was in Electrical Engineering, from Howard University in Washington DC. I started my career working at Goldman Sachs in New York, and then proceeded to Microsoft in Redmond Washington, leading technological projects and operations in the mobile division of the company. I proceeded from there to do an MBA at the Harvard Business School. I have always had a passion for driving projects at a national scale, and doing something that will have an impact on people who don’t have the opportunities that I have had. I feel it is the only way I could remotely appreciate the privileges I have been given by God and people who went before me.
In Nigeria, our biggest social challenge is poverty. I am a strong believer that the most effective way to fight poverty is to accelerate enterprise. At some point, this could all be private sector and industry-driven; but until then, we must be deliberate about achieving what you call “fiscal cushions” on the way there, otherwise the country will implode before our very eyes. For a country as large as Nigeria, the government cannot just be a bystander or umpire – at least not at the beginning. It must be an enabler, sometimes an executor. It must take the risks, push the boundaries, catalyze the ecosystems, until the sector is significantly de-risked and private sector is able to own and drive it completely. So, when my mentor and boss, Okechukwu Enelamah, was nominated as a Minister, it only made sense that I follow him and use the opportunity to try and make an impact in this regard. GEEP was the ripest project to achieve this goal, and the execution was under his Ministry. But I must tell you that, having been to some of the most remote parts of this country, almost clocking 30 states, nothing could have prepared me for this experience and given me a true understanding of Nigeria.

At 31yrs, what do you say to people who think you are quite young to be playing a lead role on such a massive project? How has the journey been, and what drives you?
I consider it a rare privilege to be doing work this important. In a geriatric society like ours, age typically takes precedence over capacity or intellect. I remain grateful to the visionaries who have defied the odds and taken a big bet on me. These people include the Vice President himself, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo; the Minister for Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah; and the Executive Director at BOI, Mrs. Toyin Adeniji with whom I have worked very closely with over the past 2 years. They see what most other people don’t see: that the future of Nigeria’s leadership is in our young, and that there is a growing tribe of us with some of the best of education, experience, and capacity to serve.
I never wake up any day thinking I am too young to manage an operation of this scale, or that we can’t make it truly transformative. As a matter of fact, I think youth and energy are major advantages. I apply myself totally, and demand the same of the team. We bring the best of technology, innovation, new thinking, to something as stereotypically archaic as government. Imagine driving a government project without a single piece of paper or unnecessary intermediaries in the process. I am talking unique identification, everything interconnected by technology and systems, no forms, no godfathers. We hop on flights on short notice, go to the most remote parts of Nigeria and spend days and weeks there. It is a truly immersive experience where youth can only be an advantage, if not even a requirement. And there is strategic thinking, leveraging on one’s networks including more senior mentors and leadership, while still having the nimbleness to go down market and find the most driven of our young and putting them to work.
Nairaland / General / Tradermoni Is Not Vote Buying - Uzoma Nwagba Part 1 by hadassah701: 11:16am On Jan 08, 2019
The TraderMoni scheme of the Federal Government has generated a significant amount of buzz and national conversation: from those who laud its impact, and those who view it as politically motivated. TraderMoni is one of three microcredit products of the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP). In this exclusive interview with BusinessDay, a man behind the wheels, and Chief Operating Officer of GEEP, Uzoma Nwagba explains how GEEP was a direct response to the challenge of access to funds for micro-enterprises, and financial inclusion.

What is this GEEP program really about?

GEEP is a microcredit programme that provides much-needed capital to traders, artisans, farmers, petty traders. It is one of the social intervention progammes of the Federal Government, and comprises of three products: MarketMoni, FarmerMoni, and TraderMoni. GEEP was initiated in 2016 by the Federal Government; with an understanding that there are over 30 million Nigerians at the base of the pyramid who are in active commercial activity but never have an opportunity to access credit. In 2017, only 0.04 percent (i.e. less than 1 percent) of bank loans went to this micro segment. These hardworking Nigerians are not “interesting” to the traditional lenders: they have little to no financial track record, they have no collateral, some barely have formal identities. However, they are actively trading and in dire need of capital. They are sellers of the food stuff you cook, the beverages you drink, the airtime you use, and kiosk items you buy. And there are tens of millions of them, across the 36 states and the FCT. GEEP is an opportunity to properly identify and capture these Nigerians, provide them with capital, and in the process onboard them into the formal financial system of bank accounts and mobile wallets – in a way that they can be sustainable recipients of credit. Our goal is to advance financial inclusion from its current mythical state into actualization. GEEP grants interest-free loans of between N10,000 to N300,000 in a graduating scale of N10,000; N20,000; N50,000; N100,000; and N300;000. Traders either start at N10,000 (TraderMoni), or N50,000 (MarketMoni), or N300,000 (FarmerMoni). It all depends on the scale of your current trade, and preparedness to meet the criteria at each level.

The N10, 000 ($27) TraderMoni component of the GEEP scheme has come under huge criticism for the loan value: some Nigerians do not think it is barely anything to help a trader. Was there intelligence that suggested otherwise for which the TraderMoni team settled on N10, 000 as the first level?

Recall that these loans go from N10, 000 to N300, 000. You start at N10, 000 if you are a petty trader – and you quickly graduate to N300, 000 by simply repaying your loans.

More importantly, you would be surprised to know that the GEEP programme did not start with N10, 000 loans. We started with N50, 000 loans. In the process of executing a programme N50, 000 and above, we found something quite startling: the vast majority, I mean up to 90 percent, of our targets did not have inventories of more than N10,000. You would more than double their capacity with a N10,000 loan. We would have missed the scope and scale of this if we had not spent the last 2 years on the field, giving loans, learning more. Besides the fact that this population not only needs small amount for a start, they also do not have the traditional bells and whistles – BVNs, KYCs, bank accounts, collaterals – which are the requirements of traditional lending. So we had to create a product specifically for them, driven by agents on the field, equipped with tablet computers, and disbursed through mobile wallets which only require the trader to have a mobile phone. We believe this can be truly transformative to this sector, and to the lending ecosystem. The results are showing.

In the past 2 years, we have given over 1.5 million loans across the three programs, 1.2 million of which are TraderMoni beneficiaries. The loans are driven strictly by scale of demand.

Where is the money coming from and how sustainable is the program given the time value of money (for which interests are usually charged), and Nigeria’s unique political system where continuity is always an issue?

From Day-1 of GEEP, we instituted the BVN as a non-negotiable requirement. The first application of the BVN was to serve as a unique identifier which checkmates fraud. However, the second application of BVN is even more powerful: for the first time, we have an effective (digital) collateral. People who took the MarketMoni loans, our first GEEP product, accept agreements that the Bank of Industry had the right to block their BVNs if they were in severe default. A blocked BVN means the candidate is unable to operate any of their bank accounts or perform any financial transactions until they fulfil their debt obligation. Obviously, we had to balance this carefully with the overarching goal of financial inclusion. This means that you don’t want to have people included into the financial system, only to block them out of it soon after. So, first we establish the usage and habit of finance and accountability by giving the loans. Next, we communicate aggressively on repayment and defaults, warning severe defaulters of an imminent blocking of their BVN. And then, we select cohorts of defaulters who inevitably get the BVN blocking. We do this while aggressively learning and improving the process. The journey is still an evolving one, but we are absolutely committed to more and more innovation around the collateral problem that has excluded this group from credit for decades. With the advent of technology and innovation – we must think outside the box, seeking for digital collaterals that are effective. You would not believe that the regulation that allows for what we have just done has been in existence since the 1970s. However, without the right advancement in technology (e.g. BVN which means you can finally take action on all accounts belonging to an individual in the entire financial system), there would be no way to execute that regulation. Thankfully, the future is now, and it is our goal to continue to push the boundaries on what is possible.

For the TraderMoni scheme (for petty traders at the very bottom of the pyramid), we are taking a slightly different approach of not requiring BVNs or bank accounts as our targets are significantly less educated or sophisticated. We need to first solve their problem of access and reduce the barriers to that. So, we use what they have: their mobile phones. It is only on the second loan that the BVN and bank account requirements kick on, and therefore the digital collateral. As a result, we make a conscious effort with their first TraderMoni loan to make the carrot more attractive than the stick. That is, we make it very simple to get the next higher loan (N15,000) once the first loan (N10, 000). You literally receive a disbursement in minutes when you dial a USSD code after paying your first loan. We are using TraderMoni to test this model and we are studying the effect because it’s also an opportunity to build knowledge for the ecosystem. What the government learns from this program will be used to drive even private sector lending.

Given such a large-scale programme with a target market that has limited education, how are you able to deliver the numbers you report?
The operation of the program does not mirror its target demographics. What I mean is: the more illiterate or unsophisticated our beneficiaries are, the more sophisticated our operation has to be. All the complexity has to be absorbed by us and taken out of the trader’s experience. We have a highly technology-driven program. Everybody who has a TraderMoni, MarketMoni or FarmerMoni loan is enumerated at their point of trade. What this means is that one of our over 4,000 agents across the country, walks up to them and registers them on a tablet device. I am talking full registration of biodata, GPS location of the trader’s point of trade, information on what the trader does or sells, pictures of them and their trade, address, phone number, BVN (where applicable) which is validated against the national BVN database, background and risk profiles where accessible. We have a sophisticated digital base that connects these tablets of our over 4,000 agents across the country to central systems at BOI, as well as third-party connections to banks and mobile wallets for disbursements and repayment. Similar connections happen for tracking and monitoring of the loan and repayments. The most surprising thing you would find out about the programme is how obsessive we are with its operation. Some members of my team joke that we are a technology company that happens to give loans. With more experience and learning, we will continue to innovate and set the standards. And, yes, this is all possible in a government programme.
What sort of impact does the GEEP program hope to make, how is it being measured/tracked today?

Tremendous impact. For most of our beneficiaries, it starts out like a dream. An agent walks up to you in your market association, at your kiosk, sometimes on the street while you hawk. They speak about a government benefit, and interest-free loan to enable your trade. You are not asked for a collateral, and you are not asked to vote for anyone. They would capture details of you on their tablet, you would get an SMS in days on your qualification, and you would get a disbursement shortly after. Even playing this back to myself now, it sounds crazy, too good to be true. But this is exactly what happens. So you can imagine traders’ skepticism at first, which our agents have to overcome, until disbursements start happening. For most of our over 1.5 million beneficiaries today, this is the first time they have successfully accessed credit in their entire lives. I interact with traders, from Bauchi to Yenegoa, who tell me they have been doing the same trade in the same spot for 30 years, and this is their first time ever experiencing something like this. They are able to invest in their trade, or deal with issues that have been historically disruptive to their trade. They keep their businesses alive, enabling them to pay back in tiny instalments over six months. They are empowered. Most of this is silent; you don’t hear it buzzed around. But this has been the reality of GEEP, every single day, since May 2016.

When a lot of people hear about the GEEP programme (either TraderMoni, MarketMoni, FarmerMoni), they think about how transformative it is for the beneficiaries, but in a lot of ways it’s also life-changing for those of us implementing the programme. Nothing would have prepared us for this scope and scale of impact. Nothing could have connected us better to the realities of the everyday Nigerian. We literally spend the day with them in the markets, get in their heads, support their trade. For some beneficiaries, like tomato sellers in Mile 12 market, TraderMoni represents negotiating power with their suppliers. The traders can now pool more funds together, sometimes up to 15 people pooling N150,000 using TraderMoni, and negotiating for bulk-buying of tomatoes in baskets, bringing their individual costs down by 40% for the same quantities they sell. For others, like the keke riders or cart pushers in the North, it is investing in more petrol and maintenance upfront, enabling much less interruptions during the day to enable them earn more. For the tailor or plank seller on MarketMoni, it is inputs, or light machinery (like a sewing machine or electric saw). For the farmer, we are talking stock feed or fertilizer. The stories are so diverse, and so beautiful. What weaves this all together is a common thread of industrious low-income Nigerians in productive commerce that require credit, and now this requirement has gone from a wish to a reality.

Even when genuine, transparency and accountability have often been the bane of most government intervention projects. How is GEEP any different?
Nairaland / General / Tradermoni Is Not Vote Buying by hadassah701: 10:46am On Jan 08, 2019
Nairaland / General / Trader Money Loan Impact. by hadassah701: 10:22am On Dec 21, 2018
TraderMoni is an empowerment initiative set up by the federal government to provide collateral-free loans for petty traders and artisans. The primary objective of the intervention is to improve and help these artisans in business and overall productivity.
The TraderMoni initiative makes these loans easily accessible to petty traders and there is no political undertone to the project as wrongly assumed by a few people.
Thanks to TraderMoni. Thanks to the Federal Government. Cheers to better-empowered business owners.

Nairaland / General / What #10,000 Can Do For A Petty Trader by hadassah701: 10:42am On Dec 20, 2018
People may question what #10,000 can do in a business forgetting that the benefactors of the said fund are "petty traders". people forget that these ''benefactors'' can qualify for higher loans after repayment. A pure water, fruit, or vegetable vendor has a family and will be better empowered if their business is active rather than crippled by debts and unpaid interest.

Nairaland / General / No One Will Demand For Your PVC by hadassah701: 12:58pm On Dec 18, 2018
Investment programmes like TraderMoni need no PVC as such should not be tagged as a note for vote buying because it is a loan that is meant to be paid back.

Nairaland / General / Three Men Pose As Tradermoni Agents Allegedly Defraud Traders. by hadassah701: 12:47pm On Dec 18, 2018
Nairaland / General / Tradermoni Empowering Petty Traders. by hadassah701: 12:06pm On Dec 18, 2018
The main Federal Government target for TraderMoni is to empower petty traders and artisans over the 36 states and reaching over 2 million people. This is currently in view as the vice President has functioned greatly to that effect with the launching at few states.

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