Uche Usim, Abuja
Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday reiterated that the Buhari administration was determined to lift millions of Nigerians out of poverty using a plethora of policies and programmes aimed at promoting financial inclusion remain and strengthening Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
Speaking at the opening session of the 2019 Annual Conference of Chartered Institute of Bankers who referenced President Buhari’s June speech on poverty alleviation said:, “Financial inclusion, of course, is the key to realizing so much of what we expect as an economy and the President promised in his June 12 speech to lift 100 million people out of poverty in ten years, that is the commitment of the government of Nigeria.
“We started that journey with our collaboration with the Bank of Industry to deliver the GEEP programme, better known as TraderMoni and MarketMoni by providing microcredit to almost 2 million petty traders. The Bank of Industry has now brought this huge bottom of the pyramid into the formal financial system and that has been recognized worldwide. Recently the programme won the AfDB prize for financial inclusion because of the work that was done with TraderMoni. This is a huge task.
“Going forward, we now need to embark on financial training for all of those who have been brought into the net. As you know, when they’re given N10, 000 and they payback, they are given N15, 000, N20, 000 and it goes all the way. But at that point they’re given their BVNs; they’re formally included in the financial system, they’re formally included as formal traders, and so we are able to give them financial training and all that.”
Continuing, the Vice President said “for very long, that bottom of the pyramid has been completely excluded and yet informal trade is a significant part of trading that is going on in our country.
“So, there’s a real need out there and we must devise the methods by which those at the bottom of the pyramid can be uplifted and we must look at how we can even resource the entire value chains. What we find is that the petty trader, who just has a trade, is usually selling little bits and pieces from many of the manufacturers or fast-moving products and we found that just by giving them credit, we can resource the whole value chain all the way up.”
On plans to create opportunities for those at the bottom of the pyramid, Osinbajo said “we’re working with the Bank of Industry, with several players in the market, especially the marketing services people to identify how to work through those value chains so that more of these people can move from petty trading, higher up in the value chain as they’re resourced”.
He urged stakeholders in the banking sector to support government’s efforts in resuscitating the MSMEs and real sectors.
He said “All of that will depend on what the banking industry is prepared to do, how adaptable the banking industry will be to giving loans, especially microcredit. Everything is changing very quickly.
“We must create good jobs and opportunities. We must rapidly industrialize, we must provide the environment for local businesses, small and large to create wealth and value. We must also address the concerns of young entrepreneurs and startups, and the small traders, the millions at the bottom of the economic value chain, the millions at the bottom of the pyramid, those who sell from their trays and tabletops all over the markets in our country.
“We must develop the housing sector both to provide much-needed shelter but also to boost local opportunities in the local building and building materials sector.”