- GEEP Offers Zero Interest on Loans
The Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Protection, Mrs. Maryam Uwais, has said the Government Empowerment and Enterprise Programme (GEEP) offers zero interest rate on loans to over 1.2 million artisans, traders, market men and women, as well as women cooperatives.
She spoke during a media interaction in Lagos adding that 70 per cent Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria cannot access loans and financial support for business growth.
“GEEP works with cooperatives to assist MSMEs and the Bank of Industry (BOI), manages it by verifying the membership of the cooperatives through Bank Verification Number (BVN). Those who default in repaying the loans get blacklisted and prevented from further loans. GEEP targets 1.66 million Micro, Small and Medium enterprises,” she said.
Speaking further, she said Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) is designed to support one million of the most vulnerable and poorest Nigerians adding that the CCT targets one million poorest households.
The Special Adviser highlighted economic overdependence on crude oil, absence of critical policies driving inclusive growth and changing demographic profile as challenges that could not be left unaddressed, hence President Buhari’s decision to act. Currently the programmes are operational in 14 states of the federation.
She said that over 500,000 unemployed graduates will be empowered in the N-Power programme designed to engage unemployed graduates, while 5.5 million school children will enjoy free meal from the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP).
Quoting the National Bureau of Statistics current 18.8 unemployment rate, Mrs. Uwais said 82 million Nigerians live below the poverty line which translates into 42.4 per cent of the entire population.
According to her, “10.5 million Nigerian children are out of school and 20 per cent of the World’s out-of-school Children are in Nigeria. The National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) will see 5.5 million school children fed with nutritious meals. There are also secondary beneficiaries of the programme such as the cooks whom we pay directly and farmers who supply the food stuff.”