The new phase of GEEP offers higher funding to more beneficiaries, writes Chido Nwakanma

A new phase of the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme (GEEP 2.0) took off on 24 August 2021 with one million beneficiaries, four schemes and higher funds for beneficiaries. It is an increment on the first phase of the scheme that commenced in 2016.

GEEP offers three programmes: TraderMoni for marginalized youth, MarketMoni that targets vulnerable women, and the FarmerMoni specifically focused on rural farmers.

“Part of the new strategies include an increase in the loan portfolio of TraderMoni and Market Moni loans from N10,000 to N50,000, while the Farmer Moni is now N300,000 along with the provision of value chain and creation of digital marketplace (E-platform) for beneficiaries to sell their products”, so said the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Hajiya Umar Sadiya Farouq.

GEEP2.0 will also include “a digital integration and coordination platform along with a strong and centralized monitoring and evaluation system aimed at enhancing loans recovery”.

GEEP2 is a component of the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), a cluster of poverty reduction interventions approved by the federal government in 2016. The NSIP clusters include the NPOWER, GEEP, the Conditional Cash Transfer and the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, which collectively have so far impacted over 12 million households since inception and the numbers are growing.

The Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development manages the NSIP. The Ministry says “The GEEP Programme was designed to give access to credit for poor and vulnerable people who are at the bottom of the economic pyramid; this includes persons living with disability. The target beneficiaries will be people who are already engaged in business enterprises such as traders, artisans, enterprising youth, farmers and agricultural workers, and other categories of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in furtherance of poverty eradication, employment generation, growth, and development of MSMEs throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Hajiya Umar Sadiq Farouq, minister, elaborated at the launch of GEEP2: “The GEEP programme is a veritable tool designed to end poverty in many ways. In other words, GEEP targets the unbanked poor and vulnerable but skilled population that have always been left out on credit delivery programmes and is directed at providing soft and affordable loans to finance their businesses”.

GEEP emphasises “credit and financial inclusion for over 37 million Nigerians at the base of the pyramid who are involved in active commercial activity but have never had the opportunity to access loans.”

The Humanitarian Affairs Ministry says GEEP has provided “incremental loans of between N10, 000 and N300, 000 to about 2.3million beneficiaries under the three programmes. Beneficiaries are traders, artisans, agricultural workers and enterprising youth and other micro-service providers.

Umar Sadiq Farouq said GEEP2 builds on presidential approval to expand the scope to reach one million beneficiaries. She stated further that GEEP2.0 will effectively deliver soft loans and skills to a wide range of unemployed citizens including persons living with disability, marginalized women and unemployed youth amongst other vulnerable groups in our society”.

Under GEEP2.0, TraderMoni will empower and uplift vulnerable youth “like scavengers, market wheelbarrow boys, orphans and youth with special needs” and have a nationwide reach.

GEEP2.0 will do more. It will empower farmers, scale up FarmerMoni into agropreneurship to increase agricultural production, food security and job creation, while Market Moni will focus on indigent and marginalised women in communities.

The Buhari administration has been driving the National Social Investment Programme as the pivot of a poverty reduction effort. GEEP is a major component of the NSIP.

Hajiya Farouq called on potential beneficiaries of GEEP2.0 to ensure that they take advantage and enrol. The ministry also enjoined beneficiaries to register with cooperative societies aligned with the scheme.

GEEP2.0 is structured along federal, state and local governments. It would deploy two poverty-reduction models. One is the Grameen Model that brings poor and vulnerable but economically active groups together to improve their access to finance. “Grameen model only gives out loans to people in cooperative groups. The recovery rate of Grameen model loans have been 90-99% performing”. The other is the Associations Model that targets persons in trade associations of common business interests.

The various loans will be demand-driven, the ministry asserts. That means that “Only beneficiaries that need the loan will come forward for enumeration” while the ministry will sensitise prospects through public communication in jingles, announcements and more.

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