The Government Enterprise and Empowerment Program (GEEP) has provided palliative microloans for 87,614 petty traders hit by COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.

In line with the vision of the Federal Government to curb poverty and boost productivity in different parts of Nigeria, thousands of petty traders in 20 states across the country were reached in the first phase of disbursement.

The second phase of the disbursements is expected to target 412,386 petty traders across the country. GEEP is designed to cater to Nigerians at several levels: unemployed youths, petty traders, artisans, MSMEs, and other similar categories. Over two million Nigerians have already received boosts to their businesses through the GEEP program which has been implemented in 36 states of the federation and the FCT.

COVID-19 has disrupted economic activities due to movement restrictions and lock-down directives across the country. This led the Federal Government in April 2020 to leverage its GEEP infrastructure in disbursing palliative microloans to petty traders and artisans. These palliative microloans have helped petty traders revive their business, as the government eases lock-down measures nationwide.

GEEP is one of the social intervention programmes, comprising TraderMoni, MarketMoni, and FarmerMoni, and executed by the Bank of Industry. It is a completely digitised programme where all eligible traders are captured into a database, verified via phone and facial recognition technology, and receive disbursements in mobile wallets.

GEEP agents are equipped with a proprietary application that enables full registration and capture of applicant data e.g. biodata, nature of trade, GPS coordinate of the trade point, and all other data sets that ensure adequate credit assessment. It is without doubt that the programme has tremendously changed the lives of a lot of traders in Nigeria. It is very important for beneficiaries to understand that the programme is not a free money scheme but an interest-free loan that is to be used to expand their businesses.