- Laolu Akande has called out Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum for their opposition to the TraderMoni scheme
- Akande who is a senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity said any attack on the TraderMoni scheme is an attack on hardworking petty traders
- TraderMoni is one of the microcredit schemes of President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s Social Investment Programmes (SIPs)
Mr Laolu Akande, senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, office of the vice president, says any attack on the TraderMoni scheme is an attack on hardworking petty traders and Nigerians in general.
A group, Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum, recently called for the suspension of the programme, one of the microcredit schemes of President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s Social Investment Programmes (SIPs).
Akande, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo’s spokesman, in a statement on Friday, November 9, in Abuja, described the call as both unbelievable and unfortunate.
Akande, who was reacting to a news report credited to the group, noted that such an attack on the SIPs was a direct confrontation with the millions of Nigerians benefitting from all the schemes.
He said it would be deceitful for anyone or group to accuse Osinbajo of advance vote buying through TraderMoni, a micro-credit scheme designed to assist the bottom of the pyramid petty traders nationwide.
“This was the false claim contained in a communiqué jointly signed by the leadership of a group called Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum recently.
“We do not think the Nigerian people are up for sale, nor can they be bought. Such suggestions are an insult on our collective identity.
“And calling for the suspension of a scheme that improves the businesses of ordinary, hardworking Nigerians, like petty traders, is not only unfair, but an attack on the common man.
“The Social Investment programme of the Buhari administration started in 2016, and the TraderMoni scheme is a part.
“So, it is false to even insinuate that the scheme was meant for advance vote buying when it was conceived two years ago.
“TraderMoni, which is part of the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) under the SIPs, is designed to assist petty traders across the country expand their trade through the provision of collateral and interest-free loans from N10,000. The loans are repayable over a period of six months.”
Akande said that it seemed naysayers could not withstand the fact that the administration was fulfilling its promise.
He asked if they would rather share the funds among themselves instead of supporting petty traders.
“After all, in some few instances, a combined sum of N100 billion was shared under the former administration.
“If that N100 billion had been given to petty traders as loans, like the Buhari administration is doing now at N10,000, 10 million petty traders nationwide would have been beneficiaries.
“We will not choose to engage with the notion that Nigerians and their loyalty are for sale.
“This administration has proven over and over again that it is committed to the welfare of everyday Nigerians, the common man.
“That is why we started the largest Social Investment Programme in the history of our country. And we will not relent in staying connected with our people.
“This is a major reason why TraderMoni, which has since been formally launched in 33 states and the FCT, will continue nationwide as we intend to reach two million Nigerians by the end of the year.
"Over 809,000 Nigerians are currently beneficiaries of the microcredit scheme.’’
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had reported that the presidency reportedly frowned at what it called a misinterpretation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s remarks when he received the report of the tripartite committee on the review of national minimum wage from the chairman, Ama Pepple, on Tuesday, November 6.
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