FG Announces N75 billion interest-free loan for Market Women
In a significant development for market women across Nigeria, Dr. Betta Edu, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, announced a game-changing initiative by the Federal Government. This initiative aims to empower 1.5 million market women through the provision of a non-interest loan of N50,000 each under the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Program (GEEP). The primary goal is to boost their capital and foster the expansion of their businesses, thereby improving their livelihoods.
The Iyaloja Fund: Empowering Female Traders
A cornerstone of this initiative is the N75 billion “Iyaloja Fund,” dedicated to supporting underprivileged female traders. The fund is set to be inaugurated on October 17th, marking a pivotal moment for women entrepreneurs in Nigeria. The program will unfold in three phases, with the first phase set to benefit 500,000 individuals, providing them with the much-needed capital to enhance their businesses.
Dr. Edu outlined the various components of this initiative:
- GEEP Programme: This program will kick-start the effort, offering non-interest loans to market women. The Iyaloja Funds, equivalent to Market Women Money, is one of the key elements of this program.
- Jaga Funds: This is a capital fund designed for traders to support their businesses and promote growth.
- Farmers’ Money (Hugo Fund): Targeted at the poorest farmers, this fund will enable them to prepare for the upcoming farming season.
A Broader Vision to Combat Poverty
The Federal Government’s commitment to eradicating poverty extends beyond this initiative. President Bola Tinubu’s administration has laid out an eight-point agenda to tackle this pressing issue. Among the initiatives is the Conditional Cash Transfer program, which will provide N75,000 in three installments to assist 15 million households, benefiting a staggering 62 million individuals.
Furthermore, the government has introduced several programs to address unemployment and provide support to vulnerable groups, such as:
- N-Power: A program aimed at creating job opportunities for the unemployed within local communities.
- Renewed Hope Shelter: An initiative focused on providing shelter for the impoverished, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and refugees.
A Community-Driven Approach
One distinctive aspect of these poverty alleviation initiatives is the emphasis on community involvement and self-reliance. Dr. Edu explained that these programs do not rely on external contractors to build houses but encourage communities to take charge of constructing their own homes. The government will provide the enabling environment for communities to build their houses, source materials locally, and even furnish their homes.
A Call for Support and Inclusion
Dr. Edu concluded her announcement by calling for the support of the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, in promoting these programs. Widely disseminating information about these initiatives, especially through the National Orientation Agency, is crucial. One vital aspect of this outreach is the inclusion of the most vulnerable individuals in the National Social Register, a process that is currently undergoing verification.
For market women and traders across Nigeria, these initiatives represent a golden opportunity to improve their businesses and livelihoods. Staying informed about the application process, criteria, and updates will be essential to seize these opportunities for growth and prosperity. The government’s commitment to alleviating poverty and empowering its citizens is a beacon of hope for many Nigerians.