No fewer than a million young Nigerians are poised to receive soft loans and acquire requisite skills as the Federal Government unveils a repackaged Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme, GEEP 2.0.
The scheme, described by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as a game changer, is a component of the National Social Investment Programme, NSIP, widely acclaimed as a concerted effort to minimise poverty in the country.
Prof. Osinbajo, in a message to the flag off of GEEP 2.0, said government was desirous of touching lives across the country in an effort to fight poverty even as other top Buhari Administration officials pledged to cooperate with the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq in discharging her mandate.
Umar Farouq, in a keynote speech while launching GEEP 2.0 in Abuja, said President Muhammadu Buhari has given a nod to expanding the scheme to provide loans to an additional one million Nigerians. Specifically, she said the approval is targeted at small holder farmers while the programme has been restructured to capture more beneficiaries at higher loan rates.
The minister further explained that GEEP 2.0 has been structured to effectively deliver soft loans and skills to a wide range of unemployed citizens, including persons living with disability, marginalized women and unemployed youth amongst other vulnerable groups in the society.
“Part of the new strategies include an increase in the loan portfolio of TraderMoni and Market Moni loans from N10,000 to N50,000, while the Farmer Moni is now N300,000 along with the provision of value chain and creation of digital marketplace for beneficiaries to sell their products,” the Minister disclosed.
She also explained that a centralized digital integration and coordination platform has been created for monitoring and evaluation system aimed at enhancing loans recovery.
The Minister challenged all eligible beneficiaries to take advantage of the offers in line with President Buhari’s vision of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha commended the minister for the scope and implementation of the NSIP particularly in targeting the youth population. “Studies have shown that an average 90% of MSMEs are youth-owned and in dire need of interventions such as this for poverty alleviation and growth sustainability,” he declared.
He said by giving farmers, youth and women priority consideration, government is deliberate in adopting measures to support small and medium-sized businesses to achieve maximum desired effects in the shortest space of time.
“I must applaud the GEEP 2.0 Trader Moni’s youth based focus giving special attention to empowering under-privileged and marginalized youth who lack access to education, orphans, disabled and abandoned out-of-school children. The GEEP 2.0 Farmer Moni which promotes agro-entrepreneurship by supporting farmers engaged in crop cultivation, livestock, poultry and fisheries.
“The President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration remains committed to lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2023 and we can only do this through collective efforts and ensuring we do not waste resources by duplicating programmes,” the SGF noted.
The Managing Director, Access Bank, Mr. Herbert Wigwe promised a robust partnership with the ministry and assured of the bank’s readiness to deliver on the GEEP scheme by reflecting it in its services.
He expressed delight that the Federal Government is investing in the people by granting capitals to start-up businesses and gain skills to fight poverty.
NSIP Focal Person in Abia State, Mr Chinenye Nwaogu praised government’s innovation in tackling poverty by directly targeting beneficiaries at the grass root.
“GEEP 2.0 is particularly thrilling to me. I come from Aba, a city made up of 90 percent entrepreneurs. I understand the financial challenges faced by the micro and small businesses in accessing credit. GEEP, as I understand, will eliminate those potholes and give access to those who should benefit from it,” he said.