98,000 farmers, small businesses to get over N5bn loans –FG

Sadiya Farouq

The Federal Government on Wednesday said it was set to roll out the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme 2.0 in all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

It stated that under the programme, 98,000 Nigerian farmers and small business owners would get between N50,000 and N300,000 interest-free loans. This implies that the government will give out over N5bn as loans under the scheme.

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, disclosed this in a statement issued in Abuja by her media aide, Nneka Anibeze.

“This follows the final verification of Phase One applicants who qualified and were selected to benefit from small loans ranging from N50,000 to N300,000,” the statement read in part.

Farouq said all beneficiaries of GEEP 2.0 shall receive congratulatory and sensitisation text messages in the coming days informing them of their qualification and re-emphasis that the empowerment programme was a loan and not a grant.

She said, “All qualified beneficiaries will soon receive their disbursement alerts. We wish to remind all qualified beneficiaries that this is a loan payable without interest.

“It is not a grant or a government windfall. It is a soft interest-free loan that must be paid back within nine months.”

The minister also announced that her ministry was planning a rollout of the programme nationwide, after which an enumeration exercise to capture beneficiaries’ biodata would take place.

The ministry stated that GEEP 2.0 was a loan scheme designed by the Federal Government to provide financial inclusion and give credit access to poor and vulnerable individuals.

It said the beneficiaries include persons with disability and those at the bottom of the economic pyramid engaged in small scale commercial activities, adding that the three flagship schemes of GEEP 2.0 were MarketMoni, TraderMoni and FarmerMoni.

“The target of Tradermoni is to uplift the under-privileged and marginalised youths aged between 18-40 years in Nigeria by providing them with loans of N50,000,” it stated.

The statement added, “MarketMoni targets under-privileged and marginalised women aged between 18-55 years like widows, divorcees, among other vulnerable groups. They get interest-free loans of N50,000 payable within six to nine months.”

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