Nigeria has begun disbursing N5bn microloans to traders across the country to help cushion the effect of the coronavirus disease on the economy.
The intervention, which is part of the Social Intervention Programme of the federal government, has already benefitted 100,000 traders through the TraderMoni, MarketMoni, and FarmerMoni programmes started by the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
According to a statement from the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, the intervention is an empowerment programme executed by the Bank of Industry through the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme.
“GEEP is a completely digitised programme where all eligible traders are captured in a database, verified via phone and facial recognition technology, and receive disbursements in mobile wallets.
“Over the next few weeks, a total of N5bn is expected to be disbursed through GEEP, reaching up to 500,000 petty traders nationwide.
“With several states going on lockdown, petty traders and micro enterprises are hit the hardest, as they live on daily incomes from trade.
“These loans are to cushion the income losses, while also enabling these traders to serve their communities with essential items like food, hygiene products and domestic supplies. The first phase of 100,000 loans has kicked off,” the statement noted.
Traders from Obalende Local Council Development Area are reportedly among the first set of traders to benefit from the first roundoff disbursements in Lagos State, South West Nigeria.