THE Bank of Industry (BoI) says no fewer than 20,000 petty traders in Ekiti State have benefitted from the TraderMoni component of the medium, small and micro-credit (MSME) clinic of the federal government, being anchored by the bank.
Executive Director of BoI, Toyin Adeniji, who gave the figure while addressing newsmen in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital at the MSME Clinic for Ekiti State, added that no fewer than 8,000 MSMEs in the state had been reached by the anchors of the scheme and had benefitted from the loans.
Adeniji explained that the TraderMoni, of the various schemes in the MSME Clinic namely “Market Money,” “Trader Moni,” “Farmer Money”; was the easiest for the people, saying it was the ultra-micro loans of N10,000 for petty traders.
According to her, “it is easier to qualify for “Trader Moni,” the ultra-micro loans of N10,000 for petty traders. You must be a trader and we must capture you at your point of trade. For that one, we go to the market, our agents are there and they capture you at your point of trade.
“You must be seen to be selling something in the market. You must be seen to have a need for that money to increase your productivity. Once you do that, you qualify for the loans. It’s easier to qualify for loans and payments are made through a mobile wallet.
“After six months or before, you can pay back the N10,000 and you qualify for a higher loan of N15,000. Again, if you finish that you can qualify for the loan of N20,000. So, it is an incremental loan and the idea is to encourage you to pay back the first one so you can get a higher one.
“After “Trader Moni” you can actually qualify for “Market Money”; so it’s a progressive loan. The idea is to help petty traders and the people at the bottom of the ladder. The idea is also to make sure they can access finances to grow their businesses. It is also to make sure that eventually they can become financially included.
“So, we encourage petty traders that are beneficiaries of “Trader Moni” to open bank accounts, so that by the time they are getting the second loan, we are paying directly into their bank accounts. A lot of banks are working with us to make this happen. So, it’s a collaboration of many efforts.”
The BoI Executive Director disclosed that for Ekiti State, the bank was still working on increasing the number of beneficiaries to 30,000, saying “we are still working on that.”
She reiterated that it was not “national cake,” pointing out that “it is not national cake. We are getting refunds. For Market Money, some people are already on their second cycle, because there’s also a promise of a higher loan. Once you finish paying back the first one, you can get a higher loan.”
According to her, “to benefit from the Market Money, you have to be a trader or an artisan or you can be a smallholder farmer or you can be a youth that is into some commercial activity. And to qualify, you must belong to a market association or trade association.”
The chairman, organising committee of the Ekiti State MSME Clinic, Mr Oscar Ayeleso, said the scheme was not a vote-buying ploy, contending that he as a member of the ruling party in the state did not know many of the beneficiaries.
He said “Most of those that were enumerated in about 11 markets where Vice President Yemi Osinbajo visited in Ekiti on Monday were randomly picked. No political colouration, so the issue of trying to induce our voters does not arise.”
In a related development, Governor Kayode Fayemi has said that his administration was prioritising workers’ welfare through prompt payment of salaries and pensions, adding that the Fayemi-led government believes in making life comfortable for the masses.
Fayemi who noted that some entrepreneurs have started benefitting from the SME loans in Ekiti State while others are still going to be included in the scheme said the scheme will add value to locally made products.
The governor urged Ekiti people to support the re-election bid of President Buhari so that the various social investment and social safety net programmes of the administration could continue.