The Bank of Industry (BoI), executor of MarketMoni, one of Federal Government’s social intervention programmes, has sealed a pact with the Rural Finance Institution Building Programme (RUFIN) to provide access to soft loans to 100,000 small businesses.
RUFIN is an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD).
The deal was part of the Federal Government’s plans to stimulate the economy and deepen financial inclusion for the economically active rural poor.
It also signals the commencement of events by BoI to reach 100,000 new beneficiaries of MarketMoni through RUFIN across Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones within the second quarter of the year.
Under the scheme, accredited individuals will have access to quick, easy and interest-free loans of between N10,000 and N100,000 for up to six months at no other costs except a one-time five per cent administrative fee.
BoI said it hoped to leverage the success of RUFIN’s financial empowerment efforts across 12 states to reach its target the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme (GEEP) market.
Already, the first phase of the loan disbursements is ongoing across Katsina, Nasarawa, Zamfara, Edo, Oyo and Lagos states, driven by RUFIN-mentored microfinance banks (MFBs) and microfinance institutions (MFIs).
“The participating MFBs and MFIs include BOWEN MFB Limited, Evbovbiorhon Community Farmers Savings and Loans Cooperatives Ltd (ECF), Rural People Development Initiative (RUPEDIN), Self–Reliance Economic Advancement Programme (SEAP) and Development Exchange Centre (DEC),” a statement from the bank said.
BoI’s Acting Managing Director, BoI, Waheed Olagunju, confirmed that the partnership aligned with the bank’s objective of expanding access to credit for people running micro enterprises below the bottom of the pyramid, majority of which are women.
He further acknowledged the pivotal role that credit facilities play in economic growth in Nigeria, saying: “BoI’s partnership with RUFIN is geared towards stimulating this process by reaching beneficiaries in rural areas across the federation and including them in Nigeria’s financial landscape.”
RUFIN’s National Programme Coordinator, Olumuyiwa Azeez, said: “We are proud that our track record has earned us this opportunity to be a channel to reach out to thousands of micro entrepreneurs who hitherto never had opportunity of accessing fund to boost their businesses.”
He said this was in line with the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh’s plan to get life back to the rural people.
The MarketMoni programme targets 1.6 million beneficiaries in a year. This population consists of one million micro-enterprises of market traders (women and men); 260,000 artisans, 200,000 farmers and/or agriculture workers and 200,000 enterprising youths broadly.
It is expected that beneficiaries of the scheme would go on to create at least one new job in their localities as a result of the intervention.