Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Friday flagged off the federal government social investment programme, ‘the Trader Money Scheme’ for Delta state in Warri.
Professor Osinbajo, who was a guest of the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Ikenwoli, in his palace, before proceeding to the Warri Main Market in Warri South council area of the state, where the flag-off took place, also explained that the scheme is targeted as petty traders who do not need too much to get their businesses running.
Osinbajo said the federal government also had the “Money Market Scheme” for the senior traders.
According to him, government had studied and discovered that the largest number of people within the commercial sector are petty traders, adding that their capital needs are usually meager, which the federal government, through the Trader Money, had decided to prove at repayable, interest-free loans.
“The Trader Money Scheme will be targeting two million traders with a view to supporting their businesses as well as reducing poverty and empowering them. Today, am here to Flagg off what we know as the trader money scheme. The trader money scheme is one of those schemes that was initiated by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The President then decided following an experience he had with the Katsina foundation which he was chairman of that, it is better to give these petty traders some money as a loan, ten thousand naira, when they pay back the ten thousand, we give them fifteen thousand naira, when they pay back the fifteen thousand naira, we give them twenty thousand naira and we keep increasing all the way up to hundred thousand naira so long as they pay back.
“We looked at the whole commercial scale of Nigeria and observed that the largest number of people engaged in commerce are the petty traders that required little start-up capital between N2,000 and N5,000. We then felt it will be better to give these traders N10,000 as loans to be paid back. Once that is done, we give them N15,000 each and keep increasing it so long they pay back.
“The scheme is designed to elevate those people at the lower ladder. I strongly believed that this is the right thing for our people, a way of empowering them. The enumerators will be here till January 2019 to ensure that the petty traders are captured,” he said.
Speaking further, the vice president also explained how the bigger commercial intervention programme; ‘the Money Market Scheme’ works, saying traders in this category would be given between N100,000 and N350,000 adding that the beneficiaries would be guided to ensure they achieved their objectives.
Earlier, the vice president said the federal government had embarked on different developmental projects in Delta with a view to boosting the economy of the state and indeed Nigeria.
“We have been able to fulfil some of those promises we made particularly the Maritime University, though there are still issues to be resolved but we have established it. We have established one modular refinery and other three are on the pipeline.
“The dredging of the Escravos bar which will open up the Warri port and it will be a big boost to the state particularly the young men and women looking for opportunities. Also, the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) is being executed by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), all these project will enhance the economy of the Itsekiri kingdom,” he said.
Responding, Mr Dickson Kpori who spoke on behalf of the monarch urged the federal government to ensure that the scheme succeeds in Warri.