SWITZERLAND, JUNE 17 – The Nigerian Bank of Industry(BOI) has been given the award for Financial Inclusion at the African Bankers’ Awards ceremony which held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea on June 14th, 2019, for its role in implementing the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme (GEEP), which includes the TraderMoni Initiative.
GEEP continues to push the boundary in delivering financial products and services to wider parts of society, particularly to the most disadvantaged and low-income segments, ultimately contributing to financial inclusion, development and growth.
GEEP’s beneficiaries are of the segment often-neglected by traditional banks unwilling or unable to handle scale and informality. They are the Nigerians for whom ₦10,000 to ₦300,000 represents a complete turnaround in their businesses.
GEEP, which commenced in 2016, has empowered over 2 million micro-enterprises with collateral-free, interest-free loans to grow their businesses, making it the largest government-led microcredit program globally.
TraderMoni, GEEP’s third product, provides loans starting from 10,000 to petty traders and artisans who do not have the business structure for the other GEEP loan products. Over 1.7 million petty traders have benefitted from TraderMoni.
GEEP removes the first critical barrier to financial inclusion, which is the barrier of engagement. It gives beneficiaries a strong reason to want to try. They can only get the GEEP loans by opening a bank account or operating a mobile wallet.
They can only repay via the bank or vouchers, no cash. They can only access the next one on their mobile phones. Over half of GEEP’s 2 million beneficiaries are first-time operators of bank accounts or mobile wallets.
GEEP is beyond a social good. It is a matter of economic security. It is a more direct effort of the current administration, through the office of the Vice President, to break the multi-decade jinx of economic growth without shared prosperity.
MSMEs (microenterprises) contribute 76% of Nigeria’s GDP and 60% of labour. Yet 85% of these enterprises cite “access to finance” in their top three challenges, as only 0.4% of banking loans in 2017 were lent to this microenterprise segment.