Federal Government Unveils N75 Billion Interest-Free Loan Program for Market Women
In a significant move aimed at boosting economic empowerment and financial inclusion for women in Nigeria, the Federal Government has officially announced a groundbreaking initiative – a N75 billion interest-free loan program specially designed for market women set to be established by 17th October.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, announced on Tuesday that the Federal Government is set to provide a non-interest loan of N50,000 to 1.5 million market women under the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Program (GEEP).
Empowering Women Economically
This innovative initiative seeks to provide a financial lifeline to market women, acknowledging their pivotal role in the Nigerian economy. With the majority of market traders being women, this program is set to have a far-reaching impact on improving their livelihoods and fostering economic growth.
Key Highlights of the Program
N75 Billion Fund: The program will disburse a total of N75 billion in interest-free loans to eligible market women across the country. This substantial fund will be a catalyst for business expansion and financial stability.
Interest-Free Loans: One of the most striking features of this program is the absence of interest on the loans. This means that market women will be able to access financial assistance without the burden of high-interest rates, making it more accessible and sustainable.
Empowerment and Education: The initiative also includes a comprehensive training and capacity-building component. Market women will receive training in financial management, entrepreneurship, and business skills to ensure they make the most of the loan and enhance their long-term financial independence.
Easy Access: The government is committed to making the application process seamless and transparent. Eligible market women can apply through designated channels, ensuring that the program is easily accessible to those who need it the most.
A Step Towards Financial Inclusion
This move by the Federal Government aligns with global efforts to promote gender equality and women’s economic empowerment. It recognizes the pivotal role women play in the Nigerian economy and aims to bridge the gender financial gap.
Supporting Economic Growth
By injecting N75 billion into the hands of market women, this initiative is set to stimulate economic activities, create jobs, and ultimately contribute to the overall growth of the nation’s economy. Market women will be better equipped to expand their businesses, invest in their families, and secure a brighter future.
“We will start right away with the GEEP Programme; we have Iyaloja Funds, which is equivalent to Market Women Money. We have the Jaga Funds, which is a capital fund for traders; and Farmers’ Money, which is called the Hugo Fund. The Farmer’s Money will be provided to the poorest of the farmers to enable them to go into the next farming season.
“The Iyaloja Fund will be providing for poor market traders in the market, helping them to improve their capital and expand their businesses. These are non-interest loans given to these persons.”
“This program is not the one you give contracts to people to build houses. The communities will build their houses by themselves. We would just provide the enabling environment. And they are expected to source for everything they will use to build that house locally, including the furniture in the house,” the minister said.
The Federal Government’s N75 billion interest-free loan program for market women is a transformative step towards empowering women economically and promoting financial inclusion. It is not only an investment in the financial well-being of women but also in the prosperity of the entire nation.
This initiative sends a powerful message of support to market women and underscores the government’s commitment to fostering economic growth and gender equality in Nigeria. As market women across the country access these interest-free loans and receive valuable training, the nation can look forward to a more vibrant and inclusive economy.