MARKET retailers who were borrowed money by the federal government under its Trader Moni programme introduced to reduce poverty across Nigeria are finding it hard to repay the loans extended to them in 2019.
One of the federal government’s flagship programmes, the Trader Moni scheme was part of its National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) introduced to eradicate poverty. Under the scheme, market traders were given micro loans on a short-term basis, without needing to come up with any collateral.
With many of the loans now maturing, the federal government is finding it hard to recover the money, with the Kwara State coordinator of the project, Hajia Bashirah Abdulrazaq-Sanusi, saying traders were not willing to repay the loans. She added that about 10,000 people benefitted from Trader Moni in the state with over N1.3bn disbursed to them,
Hajia Abdulrazaq-Sanusi said: “Poor masses are not ready to repay the loan after collection because of the attitude of Nigerians to anything from the government, thinking it is national cake. Also, those that disbursed the money do not have records of beneficiaries like phone numbers and addresses, thus, making it difficult to track them for repayment.”
She explained that the programme was designed to provide soft loans to boost small scale businesses in the markets and was flagged off by vice president Professor Yemi Osinbajo in 2019 to support women with N10,000 as soft loans to be paid back, after which they would enjoy the next stage of N50,000. Similarly, Hadjia Abdulrazaq-Sanusi lamented that over 15,000 beneficiaries of N-Power Programme were showing a similar lukewarm attitude towards working for the state government.
She said following the termination of N-Power Programme by the Federal government in July this year, the Kwara State government replicated the youth empowerment scheme. Codenamed K-Power, the programme was taken over by the state government in order not to throw beneficiaries into the labour market after exiting N-Power.