The National Association of Nigerian Traders has called on the Federal Government to involve it in the disbursement of interest-free loans to petty traders.
The chairman, NANTS, Federal Capital Territory chapter, Edozie Ugwu, stated this at the TraderMoni loan disbursement exercise held at the Wuse market in Abuja.
He noted that most of the beneficiaries are not members of the association.
The interest-free loan is being disbursed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo for 39,000 petty traders in the Federal Capital Territory.
The disbursement is part of the current administration’s drive to empower over two million petty traders across the country through a commercial loan scheme tagged the TraderMoni scheme.
The scheme, being implemented by the Bank of Industry, allows each beneficiary to get an interest-free loan of between N10,000 and N15,000.
The interest-free loan is part of the social intervention programmes of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Ugwu said that while the initiative was vital to boosting economic activities, there is the need to involve all stakeholders in its disbursement.
He said, “The TraderMoni scheme is good, but the government needs to do better in terms of coordination, because a lot of traders are complaining about the way and manner the money is being disbursed.
“They are not doing it with the market leaders and this is creating gaps, because most of the people benefiting from the interest-free loan are not traders.
“Government needs to work with market leaders because they own the market and the traders are members of the association.
“Market leaders, especially the chairpersons of each market, should be carried along since this is a loan that is expected to be paid back. The leaders should be involved.
“But if you give it to anybody and you expect the person to pay back, it will be difficult to recover the loan.”
Earlier in his remarks, the Vice President, who spearheaded the disbursement of the interest-free, loan urged the traders to ensure judicious use of the money in order to sustain their trading.
The objective of the scheme is to take financial inclusion down to the grassroots, considering the contribution of petty traders to economic development.
This is expected to ensure that access to finance, which is a major concern for small businesses, is addressed through the intervention.