By Uche Amunike
In their bid to improve the capital base of traders and expand their businesses, the federal government has announced, Tuesday, their intention to appropriate a total of N75 billion naira interest-free loan, known as Iyaloja Funds to traders in the country.
This disclosure was made by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, during an advocacy visit to the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, in Abuja.
According to her, the N75bn Iyaloja Funds for poor market women traders will be launched on October 17, 2023. She stated that each market woman will receive an interest-free loan of N50,000 and a total of 1.5 million market women, will be beneficiaries of the loan.
According to the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu, the Iyaloja Funds is a program that would be implemented in three phases, with 500,000 women meant to be beneficiaries from the first phase.
She explained: ‘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 Farmers Money will be provided to the poorest of the farmers to enable them to go into the next farming season.’
She further stated that the President Bola Tinubu-led administration of Nigeria had reiterated its willingness to fight poverty through their eight-point agenda by announcing the conditional cash transfer of 75,000 Naira in three phases, in support 15 million households, which translates to 62 million individuals in the country.
According to her, the federal government also had other programs like grants to be given to vulnerable groups under the N-power scheme, which provides jobs for the unemployed people in the community, and several other programs that include the Renewed Hope shelter, where shelter would be given for the poor and the internally displaced persons, as well as refugees.
Her words: ‘This program is not the one you give contracts to people to build houses. The community 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.’
She also advocated for the support of the Minister of Information and National Orientation Agency, Mohammed Idris, to key into the Iyaloja Funds initiative, by helping to propagate the message through his ministry and ensuring that different communities will be involved in the process of capturing the poorest of the poor on the National Social Register, which is presently undergoing verification.
In his response, Mohammed Idris gave his assurances that his ministry would support the Iyaloja Funds initiative, as poverty alleviation was key to economic development. He stated that if poverty is not alleviated and people are not returned to prosperity, then all her efforts would have been a waste.
He also lauded her for cleaning the social register, which was disputed by governors and other stakeholders.
Hear him: ‘One of the first things you did was to clean up the social register. The social register has been disputed by the governors and many stakeholders. So, one of the first assignments you undertook was to ensure that the social register is cleaned up so that everybody will have faith in it.’