Federal Government on Friday reiterated its resolve towards addressing the challenges of credit and financial inclusion for over 37 million Nigerians at the base of the economic pyramid who are involved in active commercial activity, through the implementation of Government Enterprise & Empowerment Programme (GEEP).
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs Disaster Management & Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq gave the assurance at the press briefing organized to commemorate 1st year anniversary of the establishment of the Ministry on the 21st August 2019, where the Northern State Governors, United Nations agencies and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) applauded the present administration’s interventionist programmes.
According to the Minister, the has continued to provide incremental loans of between N10,000 and N300,000 to traders, artisans, enterprising youth, agricultural workers and other micro-service providers; under its flagship programmes namely: TraderMoni, MarketMoni and FarmerMoni.
In addition, no fewer than 4.9 million Nigerians have so far benefitted from various three segments of the National Social Investment Programmes, comprising of 500,000 beneficiaries of Batches A & B of the N-Power; 2.3 million beneficiaries of GEEP and 2.6 million beneficiaries of the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme, respectively.
While giving the Ministry’s stewardship report on GEEP, the Minister observed that: “Since its inception in 2016 to date GEEP has empowered over 2.3 million such micro-enterprises with interest-free loans to grow their businesses, making it the largest public microcredit program globally, as well as the most impactful micro-credit program in Africa as recognised by the African Bankers’ Awards in 2019 held in Equatorial Guinea.
“The Government Enterprise & Empowerment Programme (GEEP) under the SIP is aimed at addressing the challenges of credit and financial inclusion for the over 37 million Nigerians at the base of the economic pyramid who are involved in active commercial activity but have never had the opportunity to access loans.
GEEP under the Ministry has continued to provide incremental loans of between N10,000 and N300,000 to traders, artisans, enterprising youth, agricultural workers and other micro-service providers; under its flagship programs TraderMoni, MarketMoni and FarmerMoni.”
She also observed that the “National Home Grown School Feeding Programme is a joint Federal-State Program, the Federal Government provides funding, coordination and oversight and the States carry out the implementation and data generation.
“School feeding programmes are part of social safety nets deployed to address both malnutrition and poverty amongst low income/poor families. The program is conceived as a multi-sectoral intervention with gains in educational, health and socioeconomic outcomes.
“Thus far, the program is implemented in 34 States and the FCT. A total number of children enrolled on the program – 9,196,823 (NBS verified) and Total Number of Cooks -103,028. As part of the value chain, the programme has improved the nutrition and health of the children, increased school enrolment and completion, sustainable income to smallholder farmers as well as stimulating growth and productivity in communities where schools are situated. Not forgetting financial inclusion as all cooks are compelled to open and operate bank accounts.
Take- Home Food Rations for Households of Children enrolled in the National Home -Grown School Feeding Programme consisting of rice, beans, vegetable oil, palm oil, tomato paste, eggs and salt. So far, we have carried out one form of intervention or the other in all the 36 States of the federation.
“It is worthy of note that at the onset of the pandemic, the National Social Register (NSR) contained data of over 2.6 million poor and vulnerable households (with over 11 million individuals) across 34 States and the FCT. With the accelerated registration and rapid expansion, the register has as at June 30, grown to 3.7 million (equivalent to 15.5 million individuals) across 36 States and the FCT.
On the N-Power scheme, Farouq affirmed that the scheme has impacted significantly on the lives of Nigerians by addressing unemployment and improving the livelihood of a critical mass of young unemployed Nigerians.
“As at the last count, about 109,823 beneficiaries from Batch A & B have gone on to set up businesses in their communities, underlining and highlighting the impact and importance of the N-Power Programme.
“We have successfully exited the 500,000 Batch A and B beneficiaries and closed registration for Batch C with a total of 5,042,001 registrations received. As we move to the selection stage the Ministry will ensure due diligence will be applied to ensure that only duly qualified applicants are enrolled,” she noted.
Farouq who applauded the support of Development Partners towards the successes recorded so far, disclosed that the Ministry has finalized processes for the development of the COVID-19 Rapid Response Register targeted at the Urban Poor, Semi and Peri-urban areas.
According to her, “this register will use existing databases from Nigerian Communication Commission, BVN, SMEDAN etc; and synthesize these data for validation and registration. The World Bank has provided support in finalization of the template to filter the poor and vulnerable from these databases for validation and registration.
“I must mention that we are working assiduously to ensure the establishment of the National Disability Commission and the take-off of the National Senior Citizen’s Centre,” she explained.
In his goodwill message, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State who doubles as the Chairman, Northern State Governors’ Forum applauded President Muhammadu Buhari for the creation of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management & Social Development, through the implementation of various National Social Investment Programmes which he noted have impacted on all the States across the federation.