The Presidency has described former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s attack of the Federal Government’s TraderMoni microcredit scheme as ignorant and mischievous.
Obasanjo had, in an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, on Sunday, attacked Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, describing the TraderMoni initiative as an outrightly idiotic programme.
But, Osinbajo’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, in a statement, yesterday, said Obasanjo’s statement “was most unfortunate.
“It is either that the former leader is ignorant of the true workings of TraderMoni and the role of the vice president in its implementation or, perhaps, he is on a mischievous mission.”
According to the media aide, the former president demonstrated “a surprising but complete misunderstanding of the workings of TraderMoni, that is, if we assume there is no mischief intended.”
He continued: “Firstly, the vice president does not personally distribute money during his visits to the markets. He goes there to assess the progress of the implementation and, to create awareness for a programme designed to meet the financing need of two million petty traders across the country; in the first instance.
“Secondly, while one will not bother to further address the issue of timing of the implementation since such issues are now known to be political posturing, it is important to note that TraderMoni is being actively implemented across all states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory. It was not only Lagos and Abuja as was insinuated.
“These petty traders at the bottom of the economic ladder, with an inventory often less than N5,000, are beneficiaries of the TraderMoni scheme which provides N10,000 collateral/interest-free loans to them, empowerment that improves their small businesses, their families, while also contributing significantly to the economy.
“Thirdly, in what is certainly a curious comment, the former president has also been quoted as describing the TraderMoni scheme as ‘idiotic.’ To label such people-friendly scheme as idiotic is not only an absurdity, it is also an affront to the sensibilities of these hard working Nigerians, the beneficiaries of the micro-credit scheme.
“For emphasis, the Bank of Industry implements the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, GEEP, one part of our Social Investment Programme. Enumeration Agents have been engaged to visit the markets and other points where petty traders are found to confirm that they are traders and also take their biometric information for recording purposes.”