By Ikhili Ebalu, Benin City
Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has launched TraderMoni, a component of the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), in Benin City, the Edo State capital, promising the Federal Government’s unwavering support for micro businesses across the country.
The Vice President, accompanied by Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, and members of the state Executive Council at the launch, assured market women in Oba Market and Ekiosa, Benin City, that traders would receive the sum of N10,000 as a start-up capital, which is an initiative of the Federal Government through the Bank of Industry (BOI) and Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme (GEEP) to fund micro businesses in the country.
Osinbajo, who was received by the jubilant crowd in both markets; Oba Market and Ekiosa, populated by traders who gathered from across the state, said the initiative is part of the Federal Government’s Social Investment Programme to boost the funding of micro and small-scale businesses and commercial activities.
He said the sum of N10,000 which is to be repaid in six months is targeted at small-scale business enterprises, market women and artisans.
According to him, the beneficiaries are expected to meet up repayment deadline to enable them qualify for the next tranche ranging from N15,000 to N20,000.
Assuring beneficiaries of more incentives for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Governor Obaseki said his administration would continue to work closely with the Federal Government on the several empowerment initiatives designed to enhance the welfare of Nigerians.
The governor urged market men and women to take advantage of the funding window to scale their businesses and improve their welfare, noting that the scheme has come to stay in Edo State.
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Amina Ojo, expressed confidence in the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, adding that the initiative, which was a rare privilege to petty traders, would go a long way to ameliorate the suffering of the downtrodden.
She urged the Federal Government to sustain the scheme when President is voted into office come next election.
Earlier, Governor Obaseki and his deputy, Rt. Hon. Shaibu and members of the state Executive Council received the Vice President at the Benin Airport.
Prof. Osinbajo, who is on a one-day working visit to the state, also held a closed-door meeting with Christian leaders in Benin City, at the Bishop Kelly Pastoral Center.
The Edo State Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Bishop Oyonnude Kure, led other Christian leaders including the representative of the President of Catholic Bishops Conference, and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN).
Other Christian leaders present at the meeting were the presiding Bishop, Church of God Mission International, Arch. Bishop Margaret Idahosa, and overseer of Family Intercessory Ministries, Margaret Agbonifo.