By Gilbert Ekugbe
The Bank of Industry (BOI) has stipulated conditions that must be met by small business owners to access the Federal Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) Fund.
GEEP is one of the social intervention programmes of the Federal Government of Nigeria being executed by the Bank of Industry.
Through GEEP’s MarketMoni product, the government is promoting financial inclusion and access to credit for 1.6 million market traders, artisans, cooperatives, youth and farmers. MarketMoni is a microcredit loan, easy to access up to 100,000.00 and repayable over six months.
Speaking during the launch of MSME One-Stop Shop and GEEP Marketmoni Train in Kwara State, Toyin Adeniji, the Executive Director, Micro Enterprises, BOI, explained that to access the GEEP all that is required is for the market women, artisans and small businesses to have an active bank account, a Bank Verification Number (BVN) and belong to a credible association
She disclosed that the bank disbursement under GEEP has hit over N500 million disbursed to over 10,000 people in Kwara State with a target to reach over one million market women and artisans in the country.
Adeniji noted BOI had so far given over 300,000 loans across the country with plans to do even more.
“We have mobilised up to N500 million in the State and so far given loans to over 8000 beneficiaries. Just between yesterday and today, we have added another 2400 beneficiaries. We have plans to cover all the 16 local governments in the State. The call to action for us is to make sure we touch every single life we can reach,” she said.
Vice President, Osinbajo, restated the federal government’s commitment to reposition SMEs to drive inclusive economic growth, regional development, employment generation and poverty reduction.
He added that the MSME One-Stop Shop and the GEEP markemoni train are two very important projects of the federal government, maintaining that they were set up to address the challenges faced by small business operators, market women and artisans who do not have access to credit to support their businesses.
Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo launched the products and said: “We have decided that we will go from State to State meeting the MSMEs, market women taking along the BOI, Corporate Affairs Commission, National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) so that the market women will meet with this regulatory authorities. They will be able to interact with these agencies so as to get more trust and rely on these agencies.. We intend to go round to ensure that all of the market women, MSMEs and some other persons who need the assistance of these regulatory authorities are able to access them.
“We have established MSME One-Stop Shop in Kwara State. This is a very simple concept where in an office you will have access to all regulatory agencies that you need to make you operate your businesses with ease. They will all be stationed here to address the issue of going up and down. With this One-Stop Shop, it is easy for you to do all the businesses that you want to do and all the attention you need from the authorities.”
Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, commended the federal government for the timely initiative and its commitment towards supporting MSMEs in Nigeria by addressing the challenge faced by SMEs in the country.
He said plans are underway to commence a 5 year tax relief regime for small business owners in Kwara State, urging operators in the sector to take advantage of the MSME One-Stop shop and GEEP markemoni train to access credit for their businesses.