By Jennifer John
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Sadiya Umar Farouq, Saturday, launched the the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme (GEEP 2.0) in Imo State.
Rolling out the National phase of the programme at the Concorde Hotel Owerri, Imo state, Farouq presented cheques to some peasant farmers and petty business women in the state who are enrolled into the programme.
She said the interest-free loans to beneficiaries was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s avowed commitment to fight poverty and its devastating impact from all angles.
Farouq said; “The Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) is a programme designed by President Muhammadu Buhari administration to create further opportunities for the poor, vulnerable and low-income Nigerians, especially those who are involved in viable informal productive activities, with limited financial requirements, but have never had access to loans from the formal financial sector.
“It is meant to give priority to the most vulnerable in our society, like widows, youths, Persons With Disabilities and the Internally Displaced Persons, among others”.
She disclosed that four thousand, one hundred and fourty four (4,144) persons were selected across the 27 Local Government Areas of Imo State to benefit from the interest free loans.
The Minister stated that the beneficiaries are verifiable, while the selection process was transparently conducted.
She said;“These selected beneficiaries are now all banked, they have been given ATM cards and are currently being enumerated, all of which are our deliberate efforts to enhance financial inclusivity of our poor in a sustainable manner”.
She disclosed that GEEP 2.0 has three unique products.Tradermoni loan of N50,000 is targeted at uplifting the under-privileged and marginalized youths between the ages of 18 – 40 years while MarketMoni loan also of N50,000 is for the under-privileged and marginalized women like widows, divorcees, and other vulnerable groups. FarmerMoni loan of between N50,000 and N300,000 is designed for small scale farmers in the communities to improve their agricultural productivity and inclusion into commercial farming.
According to the Minister, the GEEP Roll-Out heralds a launch and disbursement of loans in all states.
In his remarks, the state governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari for the programme which he said was a promise made and being fulfilled.
He posited that every activity of every politician starts and ends with the ministry, as the beneficiaries of various empowerment programmes of the ministry are the reason they are in government.
He said he pleaded with the Minister when she paid him courtesy visit, to give opportunity for more Imo people to benefit from the programme, which he said she immediately approved.
Uzodimma promised that the state government will play complementary role, recalling that the state government last year gave two hundred and fifty thousand naira to fifteen thousand youths in the state.
According to the governor, “On this programme, as we are pleading with the federal government to increase the number, I will speak with the commissioner here locally to also increase the number at our own instance”.
He advised the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the money.