Why Tradermoni matters, By Amaechi Agbo

Tradermoni is similar to MarketMoni, which is another cash transfer loan scheme of the Federal Government under the same Social Investment Programme

Last August, the Federal Government commenced the Tradermoni scheme in Lagos. The scheme is designed to help petty traders expand their trade through the provision of collateral-free loans of an initial sum of N10,000.

The scheme was launched in partnership with the Bank of Industry (BoI) in order to enlarge government’s financial inclusion agenda down to the grassroots, the bottom of the ladder, considering the contribution of petty traders to the economic development of any nation. It is a Federal Government empowerment scheme to help alleviate poverty in Nigeria by empowering traders and artisans.

Tradermoni is similar to MarketMoni, which is another cash transfer loan scheme of the Federal Government under the same Social Investment Programme, but they are not the same. While Marketmoni loans start at N50,000 and target medium-scale traders, market women, artisans, and youth in market associations. Tradermoni loans, on the other hand, start at N10,000 and target petty traders and petty artisans.

There have been lots of misconceptions, with people questioning what the petty traders can do with N10,000. But one cannot wish away the impact it will have on the fufu seller on the street whose capital is N3,000. As little as it seems, an added sum of N10,000 to her capital would lead to her expanding her business and serving more customers.

To an average income earner, N10,000 does not sound so big a sum of money to help in business, but to the rural traders it is not so. Ten thousand naira will make a significant impact in the business of the roadside corn seller, akara (fried bean) seller. The ugu (pumpkin) seller as well as the groundnut, garri, shoemaker/cobbler, beans and all other petty traders who are the beneficiaries of this scheme.

These loans come from a recognition of the genuine contribution of petty traders to the growth of the nation’s economy. Consequently, the loan 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.

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.

Under the scheme, beneficiaries can get access to a higher facility, ranging from N15,000 to N50,000, when they repay the initial N10,000 within the stipulated time period of six months. Accordingly, beneficiaries have the option to repay the loan with flexible options of N85 daily or N430 weekly.

Since coming into power via his Change mantra, President Muhammadu Buhari has never hidden his desire to change the economic well-being and welfare of the poorest Nigerians, the masses. Access to credit to help boost the output of their petty businesses has proved to be one route he has taken in providing succour to Nigeria’s lowest income earners.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo told beneficiaries of the Tradermoni loan scheme in Gbagi Market, Ibadan, Oyo State, that more funds would be committed to the scheme as soon as the traders begin to pay back. This emphasises the need for the sustainability of the programme, which, in itself, can only be sustained through the collective efforts of the traders simply paying back the small loans they have collected.

Tradermoni scheme is not only a justification of the current Federal Government’s unrelenting drive to take Nigerians away from the clutches of poverty but also a determined initiative to ensure that government reaches out to the unreached and creates a more equitable society.

The scheme has been implemented successfully in 10 states so far. These states are Lagos (the pilot state), which was launched on August 7, Kano State kicked off on August 18, August 20 saw Abia State integrated into the scheme, while Akwa Ibom was on August 21.

Katsina got into the initiative for the take-off of the scheme in the state on September 1; Osun, Kogi, Cross River and Oyo states started the scheme on September 3, 8, 11 and 13, respectively.

The programme was also launched in the Federal Capital Territory on September 6 at the Utako Market.

With the scheme currently being implemented in 10 states, including the FCT, the Vice President, as part of his outreach in ensuring a smooth and successful implementation of the loan scheme, visited the market in Ibadan to assess how the loan was being executed and to ensure that all registered traders got the money.

It is unfortunate that there are microfinance banks in the country, which, invariably, are saddled with the responsibility of granting or providing loans to small traders but have made their interest rates so high that no low-income trader would dare consider them. This initiative by the Buhari administration helps close the gap.

The intention of the programme is to reach all 36 states of the country and the FCT. It has started on a remarkable note and can only get better. Testimonies from some of the beneficiaries have already filled the media space attesting to the impact it has made in their little businesses. The testimonies resound what ought to be: government should be for not just the elites, but also the lowest cadre of society. And this is what the Buhari administration is achieving with the TraderMoni initiative.

News Reporter
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