Have you ever missed out on a major business opportunity due to lack of access to capital? Have you ever had to sell of a precious property at a give-away price just because no financial institution could grant you a favorable loan? These are some of the real choices facing men and women around the world who lack access to capital to invest in their businesses or to help bridge their income until a crop can be harvested. Worst still, millions of hard working petty traders and small-scale artisans have had to continue trading at a micro scale due to low financial input into their businesses. In a country where 75% of the population lives below $2 daily, the Federal Government has made a commitment to elevating poverty at the lowest level of the financial pyramid.
Trader Moni is a government scheme that gives out progressive microloans to petty traders and artisans with business value of less than N50, 000. This loan is from an initial N10, 000 and goes all the way to N15, 000, N20, 000, N50, 000 and N100, 000 increasing after each repayment. Trader Moni loans are collateral free, hassle free and interest free! No financial institution in the country offers (or can ever offer) such intervention to businesses. Thanks to Trader Moni, so far, over 500, 000 beneficiaries have received a first-level loan of N10, 000 and by December 2018 the numbers will have risen to 2 million traders across the 36 states of Nigeria. Contrary to the opinions of the rich and middle class citizens that N10, 000 is too little to make significant impact in a business, touching stories of positive impact have been reported by beneficiaries so far.
One of such beneficiaries is Umar, 34 year old native of Borno state. Umar sells leather bags or Nylon in the market. In a bid to make the best sales, Umar adopted the nomadic or hawking style of selling. This tells a lot on his health as he suffers severe body and leg pains after work. However, with a wife and 4 children Umar has no choice but to go through this stress every day to make a little over 1000 naira to make ends meet. “My pikin dey primary school for Masaka…..four pikin. My wife dey sell for Masaka….small pepper, tomato”
While many financially comfortable citizens feel 10,000 naira cannot improve any life, Umar is excited about the Trader Moni loan. He has permutated several ways the money can better his life, and his family’s. “If I see alert ko, I fit do table and umbrella. I no go waka round market again. Or I fit give my wife….she go sell coke bah….or recharge card. When I pay back, I fit collect 15 thousand buy my umbrella and table. I no go dey buy magani (medicine) for body”
It was touching to see how a loan termed “too small” can have a positive impact on a petty trader, even down to his health. Mrs. Comfort, another beneficiary, is a food hawker in Ketu, Lagos. Her struggles to make ends meet forces her to leave home as early as 6am to return late to prepare for the next day. This exposes her family’s safety as her 10yrs and 6yrs old sons are usually left uncared for. In her words Mrs. Comfort said, “I can buy more foodstuff and I can also get a shop. This will ensure that I don’t hawk anymore and I will have time to take care of my sons”.
Knowing the economic implication and ripple effects of the Trader Moni, it is clearly a laudable movement by the Federal Government. We give due credit to the current administration and say a big thank you on behalf of the 2 million beneficiaries.