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TRADER MONI: Saraki, Dogara, Others Are Enemies Of The Masses – Luqman Soliu, The President Of Rights and Freedom Advocates (RIFA)

The Rights and Freedom Advocates (RIFA) have observed that the Federal Government of Nigeria (FG) masses-oriented and petty-traders grant has met mixed reactions from some quarters. While beneficiaries lauded the initiative, others express disdain comments on the project.

Some of the opponents of the grants to the poor are House of Representative Speaker; Mr Yakubu Dogara and the President of the Senate; Dr Bukola Saraki. Both of them have regarded the gesture as vote-buying even though the grants does not requires political inclination before the beneficiaries are granted the loan unlike what we witnessed during the dubious SURE-P project whereby the beneficiaries were selected at a political party ward meetings. If those making kindergarten claim have been sincere, when last have they heard that Nigerian elites remembered the common man on the street to give them peanut as low as N10,000 which may be what some people need to succeed in life if not during election?.

So, it is worrisome that the presumed representative of the people could still be the enemies of the people that voted them. Wise Nigerians actually know the enemies of the masses now that because the masses are remembered in the current dispensation, Speaker Dogara and Senate President Bukola Saraki were dissatisfied.

Even when the National Assembly with less than five hundred (500) members have more than N150 billion budget, the millions of Nigeria are made to share less than this amount on some critical essentials. Yet our legislators are still angry that the oppressed are being liberated by the Federal Government.

Were Saraki and Dogara telling Nigerians that they don’t deserve to benefit from dividends of democracy? Was the Tradermoni given at a political meeting or to politicians alone or the national Assembly want the monies to be shared to its members? The duo of Dogara and Saraki if could not alleviate poverty in the land should not disturb those with passion for the masses as against wanton killings and robbery being witnessed in some quarters.

Unfortunately, the project which tries to restore our society to its normal status of having lower class, middle class and high net worth individuals has become headache to some elements in the wealthy class who saw the money as part of what they ought to have amassed home.

TraderMoni, is one part of the two-year-old Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) of the Federal Government. It was conceived to be of benefit to all Nigerian groups. The initiative was designed in a way to be very convenient for all beneficiaries. TraderMoni was conceived in May 2016 as a part of the 2-year-old GEEP, which is a social intervention scheme of the Federal Government, being executed by Bank of Industry (BOI) whose budget was approved by the National Assembly which Dogara and Saraki lead.

GEEP has been providing interest-free loans to traders and artisans across all 36 states of Nigeria and the FCT since May 17, 2016. It has three products; GEEP MarketMoni, GEEP FarmerMoni and GEEP TraderMoni. The TraderMoni programme involves loans starting from N10,000, and they are for petty traders for whom MarketMoni and FarmerMoni are too large, and for whom the bank account and BVN requirements have been barriers. Paying back the first loan guarantees automatic disbursement of N15,000, and subsequent loans of N20,000, N50,000 and N100,000. Candidates are enumerated in their trade clusters by the over 4,000 TraderMoni agents nationwide.

They are verified by the Bank of Industry, and loans are disbursed directly to their mobile wallets. The initiatives have activations and beneficiaries in many states of the Federation. The only requirement to be a TraderMoni beneficiary was that such a person must be a Nigerian and a petty trader.

GEEP has been providing interest-free loans to traders and artisans across all 36 states of Nigeria and the FCT since May 17, 2016. It has three products; GEEP MarketMoni, GEEP FarmerMoni and GEEP TraderMoni. The TraderMoni programme involves loans starting from N10,000, and they are for petty traders for whom MarketMoni and FarmerMoni are too large, and for whom the bank account and BVN requirements have been barriers. Paying back the first loan guarantees automatic disbursement of N15,000, and subsequent loans of N20,000, N50,000 and N100,000. Candidates are enumerated in their trade clusters by the over 4,000 TraderMoni agents nationwide.

They are verified by the Bank of Industry, and loans are disbursed directly to their mobile wallets. The initiatives have activations and beneficiaries in many states of the Federation. The only requirement to be a TraderMoni beneficiary was that such a person must be a Nigerian and a petty trader. Trader Moni is a collateral-free loan that ranges from N10,000 to N50,000 depending on the repayment abilities of the beneficiaries.

All petty traders and artisans in Nigeria are eligible to access the loan. Traders do not need Permanent Voters Card (PVC) to access the loan but must have a means of identification like the National Identity card or drivers licence. The first loan of N10,000 can be accessed without Bank Verification Number (BVN), but subsequent attempts will require a BVN and a bank account for higher loans of up to N50,000. Forms to access the social intervention programme is free as a trader only requires a valid phone number.

Strategic banks have been designated to repay the loans which are GTB, UBA, Ecobank, Union Bank, Union bank, Stanbic, Sterling, Wema, Fidelity, Heritage and Jaiz Bank. Trader moni loan can be registered through a Trader Moni enumerator (also called “agent” in the beneficiaries’ area where they are strategically located to identify and register traders.

It has been designed to be easily accessed without any enquiry about the political affiliations of a trader. A paper form or `PVC check’, is not part of the registration process neither was the money distributed during any election or at polling booths. The Tradermoni is open to feedback unlike our National Assembly members most of whom only remember their constituencies when they are to secure their votes. The GEEP MarketMoni has been on since May 2016 and over 350,000 loans have been disbursed till date.

The GEEP MarketMoni are loans of N50,000 and N100,000, for structured traders and artisans through their market associations and cooperatives. The third one is the GEEP FarmerMoni, which has been on since May 2017, with up to 5,000 loans disbursed and the figure growing. These are larger loans of N300,000 each, for structured farmers through their farming cooperatives. In this product, BVN and bank accounts are required.

With the giant stride of the Federal government at remembering the downtrodden populace with such a good gesture, RIFA find it difficult why some perfidious and rapacious legislators are still disgruntled with the little being offered the less-privileged despite their avaricious and surreptitious stealing of the nation wealth. There are cases where The Speaker of House of Representative was alleged to have diverted projects meant for his constituency in Bauchi State to his farm in Nasarawa State. Was that the kind of treatment Hon Dogara and Dr Saraki want for all Nigerians as one of their members was accused of demanding the initiative should be their constituency project? As Federal government remembered the downtrodden for the first time without party affiliation, RIFA urge Hon. Dogara, Senator Saraki and co-travellers opposing TraderMoni which they had tagged vote-buying to engage a sound teacher to explain to them what is called vote-buying and the goodness in GEEP initiatives.

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For the fact that the legislators have access to national treasury to loot easily should not becloud them from allowing others at the bottom of the ladder to reap from the dividends of democracy. With the utterances and anti-people stance of Hon Dogara, Senator Saraki and colleagues on TraderMoni, the masses have identified their enemies and agents of oppression that do not care for their well-being. On this note, RIFA urge Nigerians to watch unparliamentarian comments from the leadership of National Assembly and disregard their selfish posture.

The masses for who the projects are meant should therefore support the good effort of the FG aimed at alleviating the poverty in the land.

There are cases where The Speaker of House of Representative was alleged to have diverted projects meant for his constituency in Bauchi State to his farm in Nasarawa State. Was that the kind of treatment Hon Dogara and Dr Saraki want for all Nigerians as one of their members was accused of demanding the initiative should be their constituency project? As Federal government remembered the downtrodden for the first time without party affiliation, RIFA urge Hon. Dogara, Senator Saraki and co-travellers opposing TraderMoni which they had tagged vote-buying to engage a sound teacher to explain to them what is called vote-buying and the goodness in GEEP initiatives.

For the fact that the legislators have access to national treasury to loot easily should not becloud them from allowing others at the bottom of the ladder to reap from the dividends of democracy. With the utterances and anti-people stance of Hon Dogara, Senator Saraki and colleagues on TraderMoni, the masses have identified their enemies and agents of oppression that do not care for their well-being. On this note, RIFA urge Nigerians to watch unparliamentarian comments from the leadership of National Assembly and disregard their selfish posture.

The masses for who the projects are meant should therefore support the good effort of the FG aimed at alleviating the poverty in the land.

Luqman Soliu

President,

Rights and Freedom Advocates (RIFA)

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