By Jacinta Nwachukwu
The Federal Government says it has concluded plans to give interest-free loan to 98,000 beneficiaries of its Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) 2.0 nationwide.
Sadiya Umar-Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development disclosed this in a statement by Nneka Anibeze, her Special Assistant on Media in Abuja on Wednesday.
Umar-Farouq said that this decision was reached following the final verification of Phase 1 applicants, who qualified and were selected to benefit from small loans ranging from N50,000 to N300,000.
She further said that all the beneficiaries of GEEP 2.0 would receive congratulatory and sensitisation text messages in the coming days informing them of their qualification.
According to Umar-Farouq, the money given to the beneficiaries of the empowerment programme is a loan and not a grant and must be repaid within nine months.
“The GEEP 2.0 is a loan scheme designed by the Federal Government to provide financial inclusion and give credit access to the poor and vulnerable individuals including persons with disabilities.
“It also covers persons at the bottom of the economic pyramid, who are engaged in small scale commercial activities under its three flagship schemes.
“These three flagship schemes are MarketMoni, TraderMoni and FarmerMoni.
“Tradermoni targets uplifting under-privileged and marginalised youths aged between 18 and 40 years in Nigeria by providing them with loans of N50,000.
“MarketMoni targets under-privileged and marginalised women aged between 18 and 55 years like widows, divorcees among other vulnerable groups and they get interest-free loans of N50,000 payable within six to nine months.
“While FarmerMoni is for Nigerian farmers aged between 18 and 55 years in rural areas that operate in the agricultural space,’’ she explained.
The minister said that these farmers were provided with loans of N300,000 for farm inputs, adding that the scheme had 12 months including three months moratorium and nine months repayment period.
“All qualified beneficiaries will soon receive their disbursement alerts. We wish to remind all qualified beneficiaries that this is a loan payable without interest.
“It is not a grant or a government windfall. It is a soft interest-free loan that must be paid back within nine months,’’ she said.
Umar-Farouq said that the Ministry was planning a roll – out of the programme nationwide after which an enumeration exercise to capture beneficiaries’ bio-data would take place.(NAN)