PHOTO: Osinbajo Travels To UAE For Peace Forum

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo with UAE’s Minister of State, Ahmed Al Sayegh, at the Abu Dhabi International Airport ahead of his keynote address at UAE Peace Forum. Photos: Tolani Alli.

 

 

The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has travelled to the United Arab Emirates for the Sixth Assembly of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies.

Professor Osinbajo departed Abuja on Sunday and was welcomed at the Abu Dhabi International Airport by UAE’s Minister of State, Ahmed Al Sayegh.

He is expected to deliver a keynote address entitled “The Role of Religions in Promoting Tolerance: From Possibility to Necessity” at the forum.

READ ALSO: Less Than 100,000 Nigerians ‘Making Noise’ About Sowore’s Rearrest, Says Adesina

Also, the Vice President would meet with the Crown Prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Sheik Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nayan, at the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi.

According to a statement from Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, both leaders would discuss bilateral issues on how to continue to expand diplomatic and economic relationships between Nigeria and the UAE.

The Assembly of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies is an annual event organised by the government of the United Arab Emirates.

“The Sixth Assembly will build upon the discussions and outputs of previous assemblies, as well as appreciation of the UAE’s decision to proclaim 2019 as the year of ‘tolerance’.

“The Sixth Assembly envisages an opportunity to initiate a civilised dialogue on the formulation of a new concept of tolerance, one that is humane and generous, and to transform a perspective that makes tolerance a religious imperative,” the UAE government was quoted as saying.

The Vice President is expected back in Nigeria later on Monday.

See photos of the visit below:

Increase Engagement To End Violence Against Women, Osinbajo Urges States

A file photo of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

 

 

There is a need to intensify the engagements of state governments across the country in the advocacy against gender-based violence, in order to deepen and strengthen official efforts to prevent its menace.

This is according to the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who received Mrs Leymah Gbowee on Tuesday at the State House in Abuja.

“Driving prosecution for sex offenders is best done at the state level, particularly strengthening the states to do so at the National Economic Council,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande.

READ ALSO: Tinubu Seeks Gender Limit Removal For Rape, Tougher Punishment For Kidnappers

Gbowee is the Liberian activist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for non-violent struggle, safety, and women’s rights.

The Vice President emphasised the need for states to exercise political will in order to get the desired results, as well as provide the necessary funding to implement, working together with the private sector.

He noted that the Federal Government had open the Sex Offenders Register, saying “It was something that needed a lot of attention, changing the orientation of men in particular, to understand it’s a campaign that must be championed by men.”

In her remarks, Mrs Gbowee noted the prevalence of rape in and out of conflict zones with impunity across Africa.

She described the successful launch of the sex offenders register in Nigeria as a huge milestone, adding that the country has set the precedence for other African countries to follow.

The meeting held a day after the Liberian gave the keynote address at the launch of the Sex Offenders Register organised by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).

Zimbabwe VP Returns After Months Of Medical Care In China

At Least 31 Dead As Cyclone Idai Hits Eastern Zimbabwe

 

Zimbabwe’s Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who led the ousting of Robert Mugabe, returned home Saturday, four months after he was airlifted to China for medical care, state media reported.

Chiwenga, 63, who is seen as a major power-broker in Zimbabwean politics, had been in and out of hospital since the start of this year.

In July, the government said he was being flown to China for “further tests” after he had been hospitalised in neighbouring South Africa.

His ailment has not been disclosed.

Zimbabwe’s public health services have practically collapsed and more than 400 doctors have been sacked in recent weeks after they stopped going to work saying their salaries – decimated by hyperinflation – were not even enough for the commute to hospitals.

Those Zimbabweans who can afford it seek treatment in South Africa or elsewhere.

Ex-president Robert Mugabe died in September in Singapore where he had been receiving treatment for five months.

Chiwenga was welcomed back by the Chinese deputy ambassador to Harare Zhao Baogang, according to state broadcaster ZBC.

A video clip of his airport arrival shared on social media, showed no senior government official among the delegation receiving him when he stepped off a Chinese aircraft.

The then army chief led the military takeover that ended Mugabe’s 37-year rule in 2017.

Osinbajo Attends ECOWAS Summit In Niger Republic

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is set to visit Niamey, Niger Republic for an extraordinary Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Summit.

Osinbajo is representing President Muhammadu Buhari at the meeting.

A statement signed on Friday by the spokesperson for the vice-president, Laolu Akande explained that the Summit will include other ECOWAS Heads of State and Government and will review the ongoing situation in Guinea Bissau.

The Vice President will depart Abuja this morning and return later today.

President Buhari had earlier in September attended a one-day ECOWAS Heads of State and Government Extraordinary Summit on Counter-Terrorism, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

Given the growing threat of terrorism in the sub-region, the West African leaders had called for the Summit to review different initiatives taken so far, and redefine the priority intervention areas for the containment of the worrisome attacks in the area.

The decision to convene the Summit was reached at the 55th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government in Abuja on June 29, 2019.

President Buhari at the summit renewed his call for West African leaders “to strive to provide the necessary resources and tools” for regional initiatives such as Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) and the G5 Sahel Joint Force, to lead the war on terrorism, violent extremism and trans-border crimes across the region.

There Have Been ‘Serial Assaults’ On Office Of Vice President – Odumakin

 

Social Commentator, Yinka Odumakin, has said that there have been ‘serial assaults’ on the office of the Vice President.

Speaking on Channels TV’s Politics Today, he held the opinion that the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had been stripped of many of his duties.

He said this in reaction to the President’s decision to sign a new bill on offshore oil fields.

The Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari’s had travelled to London on Monday to submit the new bill for his assent – a situation which has since sparked controversy and intensified speculations that Osinbajo has been sidelined.

According to him, although some may argue that some of the functions are at the discretion of the president, the transmission of power to the office of the Vice President when he is leaving the country is different as it is a constitutional matter.


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“There have been serial assaults on that office for a long time now,” Odumakin stated.

“Since after Osinbajo sacked Lawan Daura, there has never been any data transmission to the National Assembly whenever the president is travelling out of the country.

“Outside that, we have seen that most of the functions given to his office have been stripped.

“Many of them have been taken to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs.

“You can say that most of those functions are at the discretion of the president but the question of the President’s transmission of power to the Vice President when he is leaving the country, is a constitutional matter.

“The constitution says that when the President is going out of the country, he shall write to the National Assembly, transmit to the Vice and when he comes back, he will send another letter… that has not been done in this case.

“What we have now seen is the Chief of Staff, taking bills to London for the President to sign”.

The Presidency has, however, debunked reports of a misunderstanding between the Office of the President and the Vice President.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Babajide Omowurare, made this clarification while briefing journalists at the National Assembly earlier on Wednesday.

He explained that the constitution permits the President to work from anywhere.

Omowurare, however, remained silent on why the President did not transmit a letter to the National Assembly, handing over responsibilities to the Vice President.

Police Arrest Over 5,955 Suspects, Rescue 826 In 2019

Police Engage Suspected Kidnappers On Kaduna-Abuja Highway, Kill Nine
A file photo of police officers on patrol.

 

 

The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, says no fewer than 5,955 suspects have been arrested by the police since the beginning of 2019.

He listed those arrested to include suspected armed robbers, kidnappers, murderers, and cultists while over 800 kidnapped persons have been rescued within the period.

Professor Osinbajo made the disclosure on Monday in Lagos at a conference and retreat for strategic leadership officers of the Nigeria Police Force.

He said, “Locally in the past one year alone, the Nigeria Police has between January and this month (October) arrested over 2,348 armed robbery suspects, over 1,400 suspected kidnappers, 694 murder suspects, 1,513 cultists, and safely rescued over 826 kidnap victims, recovered 1,660 firearms and 1,612 vehicles stolen or used for crime are now in the safe custody of the Police Force.”

READ ALSO: EFCC Witness Testifies Against Fani-Kayode, Others In Alleged N4.6bn Money Laundering Case

The vice president commended the police for their efforts at keeping Nigeria safe, saying the people were proud of the work they do.

He regretted that many of the personnel paid the supreme price in the course of duty, while fighting robbers, kidnappers, and other criminals.

Osinbajo was also sad that many have been maimed for life and their families have had to deal with their incapacity.

In spite of this, he was delighted that men and women of the police force go out at all times with exceptional bravery, often beyond the call of duty.

 

Dynamics Of Crime

The vice president was, however, worried about the threats of terrorism in the North-East, in addition to the series of crimes he said have constituted significant drawbacks to the nation’s security.

He highlighted them to include banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery, cybercrime, small and light arms proliferation and sundry transnational crimes.

“The dynamics of crime in the country has over time, become increasingly complex due largely to the impact of technology, global terrorism, socio-economic challenges, and other security situations, especially within the African continent.

“It was in response and in anticipation of these challenges that at the inception of this current administration, concerted efforts were made towards emplacing policies that would re-engineer the Nigeria Police and ensure the restoration of the agency’s primacy within the internal security architecture of the country,” said Osinbajo.

He stressed that funding, limited manpower profile, professional capacity gaps, and issues arising from the relationship between the police and the citizens were identified as challenges that needed to be addressed.

Professor Osinbajo believes the Nigeria Police force is without a doubt, one of Nigeria’s proudest assets.

According to him, it is the largest Police Force in Africa and has led police peacekeeping activities in several countries of the world such as Congo, Western Sahara, Sierra Leone, Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia, and Afghanistan among others.

“We have some of the best trained and best-educated men and women in any force, anywhere in the world,” the vice president said.

He added, “Our policemen and women have served everywhere locally and internationally with outstanding results and accolades.”

Peru Vice President Resigns, Calls For Elections

Peruvian Vice-President Mercedes Araoz is pictured in Davos, Switzerland, as she joins Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Colombian President Ivan Duque while they give a statement recognizing Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the interim president. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

 

Peru’s vice president resigned and called for elections Tuesday, hours after parliament appointed her to lead the fight against the president’s dissolution of the body amid a bitter deadlock over corruption and appointments to the Supreme Court.

“I have decided to resign irrevocably from the position of Second Constitutional Vice President of the Republic,” Mercedes Araoz wrote on Twitter alongside a resignation letter, adding she hoped for “general elections in the shortest term.”

Lawmakers had accused President Martin Vizcarra of a “coup d’etat” after he dissolved the opposition-dominated Congress and called for fresh elections Monday, voting to suspend him temporarily from the presidency and appointing Araoz as leader.

But thousands poured into the streets of Lima and other cities in a show of support for Vizcarra — whose anti-graft drive is widely popular — with the armed forces and police confirming their backing of the president and a dozen regional governors joining celebratory street protests.

“There’s too much corruption. Too much of it without any shame. It’s high time this happened, that there’s a change,” said protester Jenny Sanchez in Lima, as demonstrators waved flags saying “New Peru.”

The resignation of Araoz — who had allied with supporters of corruption-tainted former opposition leader Keiko Fujimori — comes after the Organization of American States (OAS) refused to get involved in the Peru power dispute.

The body said Tuesday that it was up to Peru’s Constitutional Court to decide on the legality of the dissolution, and that it was “fair that the political polarization in the country will be resolved by the people at the polls.”

A number of lawmakers were considering appealing to the court to revoke the dissolution, according to Congress speaker Pedro Olaechea.

Despite the heated stand-off, Peru went about its business as usual on Tuesday, with the only noticeable change being heightened security around the government palace and Congress.

January elections 

Vizcarra’s call for fresh polls on January 26 was validated Tuesday by the independent National Jury of Elections.

The upcoming polls will likely favor leftist parties like Nuevo Peru and Frente Amplio, which supported the dissolution, political analyst Fernando Rospigliosi told AFP.

Under an electoral reform enacted last year, lawmakers cannot run for re-election. A new Congress would only have a mandate until 2021, to complete the five-year period for which the dissolved Congress was elected.

Until the elections, legislative duties will fall to a 27-member Permanent Congressional Commission, 18 of whom are opposition lawmakers, led by Congress speaker Pedro Olaechea, who accuses Vizcarra of unlawfully seizing power.

Vizcarra has repeatedly clashed with Congress, which is dominated by the Popular Force party of Keiko Fujimori.

He had warned Congress on Sunday that he would dissolve the body if it denied him a vote of confidence Monday on reforming the method of appointing magistrates. The move was aimed at preventing the opposition from taking control of the Supreme Court.

Stand-off 

Peru’s grinding political stand-off has its roots in the 2016 presidential election, when banker Pedro Pablo Kuczynski beat Keiko Fujimori.

Although she lost her bid for the presidency, her party won an overwhelming majority in Congress, eventually forcing Kuczynski’s resignation last year amid a corruption scandal.

Kuczynski was replaced by Vizcarra, then first vice president, who has vowed to clean up Peruvian politics.

Fujimori is the eldest daughter of disgraced former president Alberto Fujimori and is herself in prison awaiting trial after being accused of accepting $1.2 million in illicit party funding from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht for her 2011 presidential campaign.

The Supreme Court is currently debating whether to free Keiko — once Peru’s most popular politician — from pre-trial detention.

Odebrecht has admitted paying at least $29 million in bribes to Peruvian officials since 2004.

Three former presidents, including Kuczynski, are also being investigated over Odebrecht, while a fourth, Alan Garcia, committed suicide in April after police arrived at his house to arrest him for money laundering.

AFP

Osinbajo Demands Capacity Building Opportunities For Young Entrepreneurs

Osinbajo Demands Capacity Building Opportunities For Young Entrepreneurs

 

The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has called for the creation of opportunities of capacity building for young entrepreneurs in Nigeria and the African continent.

He made the call in his remarks at the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) Forum which held on Saturday in Abuja.

Professor Osinbajo noted that on the streets of every village and city in Africa, there were many individual embodiments of the potentials of the continent.

He, however, believes that nurturing young entrepreneurs will change some of the false and some of the true but unfortunate narratives of Africa.

READ ALSO: African Leaders Should Setup Youth’s Investment Banks, Says Adesina

The Vice President stressed the need to realign the educational structure of various countries on the continent in that direction.

According to him, school curriculums should not just be about science, technology, and mathematics among others, but include ‘critical thinking and entrepreneurship.

Professor Osinbajo agreed that on the part of the government, the promises of establishing entrepreneurship banks must be kept.

He told the young entrepreneurs at the gathering that they live in the best of times and be wary of those who talk about the “good old days.”

According to him, such people are probably suffering from a bit of memory loss, considering an environment filled with a great representation of what the private sector can accomplish.

The Vice President, therefore, challenged the government and other stakeholders to create the enabling environment for all young entrepreneurs to thrive.

Read his full remark at the event below:

REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AT THE FOUNDER’S PRESIDENTIAL DIALOGUE, 2019 TONY ELUMELU FOUNDATION (TEF) FORUM, AT THE TRANSCORP HILTON, SATURDAY, JULY 27, 2019.

Protocol,

No matter how young or old we might be, our lives are essentially stories that are being written and revised every day. And those stories range from what is, to what could be, from the reality we are born into, to the ambitions and dreams that we create, desire and those we strive to achieve.

As I prepared for this event, I encountered a few of the many stories of the businesses and lives transformed by the Tony Elumelu Foundation and its various initiatives.

We have Mavis Nduchwa, who trained for the hospitality industry, and went on to a career as a TV presenter, and is today a successful farmer with the goal of feeding her native country, Botswana.

A decade ago, a Nigerian, Zion Oshiobugie, looked ahead at life as a domestic servant for a family member. Today, he is the proud CEO of a consulting company based in the same city where he started out as a domestic servant.

There is Mohammed Daoufhi of Morocco, founder of a 3-D printing company that produces affordable artificial limbs. Every day, he makes it happen for someone, he gives life to someone who had thought all life was lost when they lost their limb.

Cameroon’s Michel Nkuindija actually tells, and retells stories for a living through his company, Noohkema Game Studios, which develops video games that are based on traditional Africa myths and legends. His goal is to change the way Africa is perceived globally, and to give young Africans a reason to be proud of their cultural identities.

Across the continent in Uganda, Joel Cherop is a farmer, pushing the boundaries of agriculture using irrigation technologies, through the Atari River Integrated Irrigation Initiative Limited (ARII). Every day, he makes a difference in farming in his country.

From the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lino Alain Muniono, used seed capital to start an architectural firm, and Jose Kimoalou founded Wapimed, a health tech company providing quality healthcare across communities in the DRC.

Benin Republic’s Vital Sounouvou is promoting trade across Africa with his fintech start-up, Exportunity, a virtual market that is now directly supported by a leading African banking institution, UBA. In the age of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), there is perhaps no bigger or better opportunity to be exploring right now.

There are the hundreds who are also here and these stories are just a few of the thousands told and experienced by entrepreneurs, whose lives have been touched and transformed by the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP).

And even all of those thousands of inspirational TEEP stories are themselves, just a representation, a fraction, of what is out there across the continent. A landscape emboldened by multitudes of young people who are refusing to wallow in self-pity or frustration; who have realized that conquering the challenges of their environments are the milestones for outstanding success. Young men and women who have come to fully understand the transformational power of technology in the 21st century.

Here in this room is a great representation of what the private sector can accomplish. It is also hugely inspiring to us, as governments, and I am glad that a number of African governments are represented here, we are challenged to create the enabling environment for all of these young entrepreneurs to thrive.

Our continent continues to be defined by unsavoury and unwholesome stories, which do not often accurately represent the reality of life and opportunity. The people in this room are the perfect and long-awaited counterpoints to those one-dimensional narratives of Africa that have sadly gained ground over the years.

Outside on the streets of every village, town, and city in Africa, are many more individual embodiments of the potentials of this great continent. But we can change some of the false and some of the true but unfortunate narratives of Africa. We must find young entrepreneurs and provide opportunities for capacity building. Our school curriculums must emphasize, not just Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics which we are doing now, but Critical Thinking and Entrepreneurship.  And the promises that we have made of establishing Entrepreneurship Banks must be kept.

By birthing this particular intervention, TEEP, Tony Elumelu has compelled us to focus on what really matters, our youth and their dreams. The message to Africa’s emerging business giants is a clear one, how and what can you contribute, like Tony Elumelu, to empowering the next generation, helping them to realize their own dreams? And you gathered here in this room, helping you write, rewrite and revise the next chapter of your continent-changing stories.

Permit me a word to you, young entrepreneurs; I want to say to you that you live in the best of times. Always be suspicious of those who remind us of the “good old days.” They are probably suffering from a bit of memory loss. 

Fareed Zakaria our moderator today, made a fascinating statement to the 2012 graduating Harvard class, where he made the commencement speech. He said that the smartphones that the young men and women in the room had in their hands, had more computing power than all the computing power in the Apollo aircraft that landed the first men on the moon.

Today, as we waited out here, I reminded him of that statement and his reply was, “Yes that was 2012. Today the smartphones these young men and women have, has 100 times more power, than all of the computing power of the Apollo aircraft that landed men on the moon.”

Today is the most advanced moment in human history and your generation is the smartest that has ever lived. We are holding our breaths for the incredible achievements you will make.

God bless Africa.

Thank you.

Released by

Laolu Akande

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity

Office of the Vice President

27 July, 2019

Osinbajo Chairs NEC Valedictory Session

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday chaired the valedictory session of the National Economic Council (NEC) at the presidential villa in Abuja.

The session has in attendance most governors including the newly-elected Chairman of governors forum, Kayode Fayemi.

READ ALSO: Fayemi Elected As Chairman Of Nigeria Governors Forum

The Vice President during the session urged the governors to guide their utterances which is capable of stoking fires of ethnicity and religious conflicts.

He also advised the governors to rise above the temptation of taking advantage of the country’s fault lines in order to maintain peace and welfare of citizens in the states.

See photos of the meeting below…

Vice President, Minister Sacked In Gabon

Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba/ AFP

 

Gabon’s leader Ali Bongo on Tuesday announced the dismissal of his vice president and the minister of forests, in a move that comes amid a scandal over the smuggling of precious timber.

The president did not give a reason for the sackings of Vice President Pierre Claver Maganga Moussavou and Forestry and Environment Minister Guy Bertrand Mapangou, in his statement late Tuesday.

No new minister was appointed to the forest and environment portfolio, which was placed “under the direct authority” of the prime minister.

READ ALSO: Uganda Footballers, Fans Killed In Boat Capsize

There have been intensifying calls for Mapangou to resign in recent days in the press and from civil society groups in the aftermath of the theft of hundreds of seized containers of kevazingo, a rare wood considered sacred.

Nearly 5,000 cubic metres (177,000 cubic feet) of kevazingo worth some 7 million euros ($7.8 million) was found in two depots belonging to Chinese companies in the Libreville port of Owendo in February and March.

Several suspects were arrested, but 353 of the containers — which had been confiscated — mysteriously disappeared.

The wood had allegedly been loaded into containers bearing water and forestry ministry labels, falsely describing it as okoume — a kind of timber cleared for export.

Local media have called the scandal “kevazingogate”.

Earlier in May, the government said several top Gabonese officials had been suspended over suspected involvement in smuggling the precious timber.

Kevazingo is a rare central African wood that is prized in Asia, notably for sculpting into temple doorways, tea tables and meeting tables.

Gabon, three quarters of whose land mass is forested, last year banned the exploitation of kevazingo after illegal felling reached alarming proportions.

The industry is hugely important for the West African nation’s economy, supporting some 17,000 jobs, and is second only to the petroleum sector in terms of foreign earnings and accounts for 60 per cent of non-oil related GDP.

AFP

Afghan Vice President Survives Taliban Attack

 

Taliban fighters on Saturday attacked a convoy carrying Afghanistan’s vice president Abdul Rashid Dostum, in an assault that left the former warlord unscathed but killed one of his bodyguards, an official told AFP.

Enayatullah Babur, Dostum’s former chief of staff, said the hour-long attack also left several others in the convoy wounded.

The attack occurred in the northern province of Balkh, where Dostum had held a rally earlier in the day.

On Twitter, a Taliban spokesman said the insurgent group had carried out the attack and claimed four of Dostum’s bodyguards had been killed.

Dostum, a powerful ethnic Uzbek leader, is notorious in Afghanistan for extreme barbarities and for repeatedly switching loyalties over 40 years of conflict.

Despite a catalogue of war crimes attached to his name and accusations of organising the rape and torture of a political rival, Dostum became Afghanistan’s first vice president in 2014.

At the rally in Balkh, Dostum had claimed he could clear northern Afghanistan of the Taliban within six months — if only the government would let him.

In delayed elections now slated for September, President Ashraf Ghani has chosen to run with Amrullah Saleh, an ethnic Tajik, instead of Dostum.

Dostum has survived several other attempts on his life, including one claimed by the Islamic State group last July in Kabul that killed 23 people including AFP driver Mohammad Akhtar.

AFP

FG Remains Committed To Empowering 30 Million MSMEs With Interest-Free Loans, Says Osinbajo

Flood: Change The Habits Of Blocking Drainages, FG Tells Nigerians
File Photo: Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that the Federal Government remains committed to empowering over 30 million MSME’s in Nigeria with interest-free, collateral-free loans.

The Senior Special Assistant on Media & Publicity to the Vice President, Mr Laolu Akande, who represented the VP, said this on Thursday while giving a progress report on the GEEP micro-credit products (TraderMoni, MarketMoni, and FarmerMoni).

“GEEP’s vision (in the long term) remains to empower the over 30 million MSMEs in Nigeria with interest-free, collateral-free loans,” Akande said.

He also debunked reports that the TraderMoni scheme and other GEEP micro-credit products – a component of the Buhari administration’s Social Investment Programme, had been suspended.

Read Also: INEC To Probe FG’s TraderMoni Scheme

According to him, they are still very much in operation and “so far, a target of 30,000 minimum beneficiaries per state has been achieved in majority of the 36 states and FCT since after the national and state polls.”

He further explained that “what the implementing agency has been doing since the last phase of disbursements is generating the balance of program funding while ramping up on the states with shortages.”

Read the full statement below…

OFFICE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT

PRESS RELEASE

30,000 PETTY TRADERS HAVE RECEIVED TRADER MONI LOANS SINCE AFTER ELECTIONS

*With repayments, some have started collecting 2nd (improved) loans of N15, 000

Contrary to speculations in some quarters, the TraderMoni scheme and other GEEP micro-credit products (MarketMoni and FarmerMoni) – a component of the Buhari administration’s Social Investment Programme, are still very much in operation, Mr Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant on Media & Publicity to the President (Office of the Vice President), has said.

Mr Akande disclosed this in a progress report on the GEEP micro-credit products (TraderMoni, MarketMoni, and FarmerMoni).

According to him, “So far, a target of 30,000 minimum beneficiaries per state has been achieved in majority of the 36 states and FCT since after the national and state polls.”

Besides, he added that “what the implementing agency has been doing since the last phase of disbursements is generating the balance of program funding while ramping up on the states with shortages.”

“Consequently, disbursements have continued to happen in the states; for instance, we have had over 28,000 disbursements across 10 states since after the elections. Our priority is ramping up these numbers in the balance of states before we move to phase two of the program after detailed reviews and structural enhancements for larger scale.

Under the Next Level agenda, Trader Moni loans will target ten million petty traders, a significant ramp up from the initial target of two million beneficiaries.

On the role of the Ministry for Industry, Trade and Investment in the implementation of the scheme, he said, “it is actively involved in the project.”

Mr Akande said, “that ministry is, in fact the oversighting Ministry of Bank of Industry, which is the deploying agency. The office of the Minister executes the GEEP program via the Bank of Industry.

“The governance structure of GEEP includes the office of the Vice President (National Social Investment Office), The Ministry of Trade and Investment, and the Bank of Industry.”

Speaking on measures adopted to enhance repayments, the Presidential Media Aide said GEEP has pioneered innovative solutions to drive repayment compliance.

“Working with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), we successfully piloted the concept of the BVN as digital collateral; and we saw repayment go up significantly on the MarketMoni and FarmerMoni loans.

“For TraderMoni, beneficiaries can pay back at any commercial bank in the country just like a NEPA or WAEC bill; all they need to provide the bank teller with is their phone number. We also developed and successfully piloted scratch cards as a repayment option for beneficiaries who stay kilometres away from the nearest banks in their community. The cards are loaded the same way Telco recharge cards are loaded, thus requiring no new learning curve.

“This improved repayment received compliance to the extent that in January, the Bank of Industry began second level disbursements – disbursements of N15,000 – to beneficiaries in Lagos, Borno, Ogun and Oyo states for trader who had successfully paid back their first N10,000 loans,” Mr Akande disclosed.

According to him, “GEEP’s vision (in the long term) remains to empower the over 30 million MSMEs in Nigeria with interest-free, collateral-free loans.”

The GEEP programme, a component of the Buhari administration’s Social Investment Programme (SIP) has since inception about two years ago, impacted many lives, improved living conditions and expanded opportunities for ordinary Nigerians to do petty trading as well as small and medium scale businesses.

Under the Trader Moni scheme, an initial N10,000 loan is given to petty traders and once they repay within six months, they can receive a new N15,000 loan and when they repay that they can get another N20,000 loan until they get as much as N100,000

Media & Publicity Unit
Office of the Vice President
21st March 2019