By Bennett Oghifo
The Bank of Industry (BoI) has stated that the fully digitised loan records and biodata of all 2,418,936 benefitiaries of the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) are stored in a central database.
The bank said this in a statement yesterday in reaction to claims by a publication (not THIDAY) that it lacked customer identification system; hence loan beneficiaries are unwilling to repay.
“We would like to state that the fully digitised loan records and biodata of all 2,418,936 GEEP beneficiaries are electronically stored in a central database. The data can be viewed at the GEEP Command Center of the Bank of Industry which is open to the public.
“The programme relies heavily on technology to deliver its three loan products; namely TraderMoni, MarketMoni and FarmerMoni. The loan cycle for every GEEP applicant involves the following processes,” the bank’s statement said.
The bank said its attention was drawn to the publication questioning the existence of records of beneficiaries of the TraderMoni scheme, stating that “The claim in the publication that ‘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’ is false.”
It said, “All National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) focal persons in all states of the federation, after necessary approvals, have been proactively furnished with all information regarding GEEP beneficiaries, as a matter of practice. This includes beneficiary names, phone numbers, and business location.”
The statement said GEEP agents nationwide are equipped with a proprietary mobile application that enables the full registration and capture of up to 43 unique data points of every single applicant, such as biodata, contact information, information on the market, nature of trade, GPS coordinate of the trade point, picture of the beneficiary and beneficiary’s trade, association member and all other data that enables identification and credit assessment.
Data on every captured beneficiary, he said is delivered to the bank in real time to enable verification, appraisals and credit assessment, adding that all submitted beneficiary data go through several points of verification to ensure validity of the registration process.
“It is only when this data is verified that applicants are able to receive loans. Consequently, every loan given out on the programme can be traced to a beneficiary involved in a known trade, at a known location, within a known market association, cooperative or farming cluster.
Due to data privacy restrictions, we are unable to publish personally identifiable customer information of the Bank of Industry,” the statement said.
According to the bank, they have an efficient loan repayment system, stating that “since the inception of the programme, several beneficiaries have successfully repaid their loans and gone on to access higher TraderMoni and MarketMoni loans.
“It is imperative we set the record straight concerning the operations of GEEP, so as to guard against misleading the general public.”