Ben Dunno, Warri and Paul Osuyi, Asaba

Despite the growing criticism, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Friday, flagged-off the Federal Government social investment programme, ‘the TraderMoni Scheme’ for residents in Delta State.

Osinbajo performed the flag-off ceremony at the commercial city of Warri before moving to Asaba, the state capital, at about 6:00p.m where an unprecedented crowd thronged the popular Ogbogonogo Market along Nnebisi Road to receive him.

Earlier in Warri, the Vice President visited the palace of the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Ikenwoli before proceeding to the Warri Main Market in Warri South council area, where he officially flag-off the scheme.

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He noted that the scheme is targeted as petty traders who do not need too much to get their businesses running.

Osinbajo explained that there are different category of traders being captured by the scheme, adding that the federal government also accommodated the interest of senior traders in the “Money Market Scheme”.

According to him, government had studied and discovered that the largest number of people within the commercial sector are petty traders, adding that their capital needs are usually meager, which the federal government, through the Trader Money, had decided to prove at repayable, interest-free loans.

“The TraderMoni Scheme will be targeting two million taders with a view to supporting their businesses as well as reducing poverty and empowering them. Today, am here to Flagg off what we know as the trader money scheme.

The trader money scheme is one of those schemes that was initiated by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“The President then decided following an experience he had with the Katsina Foundation which he was chairman of that,   it is better to give these petty traders some money as a loan, N10, 000, when they pay back the ten thousand, we give them N15, 000, when they pay back the N15, 000, we give N20, 000 and we keep increasing all the way up to N100,000 so long as they pay back.

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“We looked at the whole commercial scale of Nigeria and observed that the largest number of people engaged in commerce are the petty traders that required little start-up capital between N2,000 and N5,000.

“We then felt it will be better to give these traders N10,000 as loans to be paid back. Once that is done, we give them N15,000 each and keep increasing it so long they pay back.

“The scheme is designed to elevate those people at the lower ladder. I strongly believed that this is the right thing for our people, a way of empowering them.

“The enumerators will be here till January 2019 to ensure that the petty traders are captured,” he said.

Speaking further, the vice president also explained how the bigger commercial intervention programme, ‘the Money Market Scheme’ works, saying traders in this category would be given between N100,000 and N350,000 adding that the beneficiaries would be guided to ensure they achieved their objectives.

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Earlier, the vice president said the federal government had embarked on different developmental projects in Delta with a view to boosting the economy of the state and indeed Nigeria.

“We have been able to fulfil some of those promises we made particularly the Maritime University, though there are still issues to be resolved but we have established it. We have established one modular refinery and other three are on the pipeline.

“The dredging of the Escravos bar which will open up the Warri port and it will be a big boost to the state particularly the young men and women looking for opportunities. Also, the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) is being executed by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), all these project will enhance the economy of the Itsekiri kingdom,” he said.

Responding, Mr. Dickson Kpori who spoke on behalf of the monarch urged the federal government to ensure that the scheme succeeds in Warri.