Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has explained how President Muhammadu Buhari plans to lift millions of Nigerians out of poverty.
He said the Federal Government’s policies and programmes aimed at promoting financial inclusion remain key to the actualisation of the plan.
Prof. Osinbajo spoke in Abuja at the opening of the Annual Conference of Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).
In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, the Vice-President referred to the President’s June 12 speech where he stated that “we are working to lift Nigerians out of poverty and set them on the path to prosperity. We intend to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty over the next 10 years”.
Osinbajo said: “Financial inclusion, of course, is the key to realising so much of what we expect as an economy and the President promised in his June 12 speech to lift 100 million people out of poverty in 10 years. That is the commitment of the government of Nigeria.
“We started that journey with our collaboration with the Bank of Industry (BoI) to deliver the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) programme, better known as TraderMoni and MarketMoni by providing microcredit to almost two million petty traders.
“The Bank of Industry has now brought this huge bottom of the pyramid into the formal financial system and that has been recognised worldwide. “Recently, the programme won the African Development Bank (AfDB) prize for financial inclusion because of the work that was done with TraderMoni. This is a huge task.
“Going forward, we now need to embark on financial training for all of those who have been brought into the net. As you know, when they’re given N10,000 and they pay back, they are given N15,000, N20,000, and it goes all the way.
“But at that point they’re given their Bank Verification Numbers (BVNs), they’re formally included in the financial system; they’re formally included as formal traders. So, we are able to give them financial training and all that.”
He added: “…For very long, that bottom of the pyramid has been completely excluded and yet informal trade is a significant part of trading that is going on in our country.
“So, there’s a real need out there and we must devise the methods by which those at the bottom of the pyramid can be uplifted. We must look at how we can even resource the entire value chain. What we find is that the petty trader, who just has a trade, is usually selling little bits and pieces from many of the manufacturers or fast-moving products. We found that just by giving them credit, we can resource the whole value chain all the way up.”