The Federal Government has formally launched the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme (GEEP 2.0) in Imo to assist the poor.

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, inaugurated the national phase of the programme in Owerri on Saturday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the major highlight of the event was the minister’s presentation of cheques for interest-free loans to selected beneficiaries of the programme in Imo.

They included some peasant farmers and petty business women.

In a speech, Farouq said that the initiative was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to fight poverty and its devastating impact from all angles.

According to her, GEEP is a programme designed by the present administration to create further opportunities for the poor, vulnerable and low-income Nigerians.

She said that the targeted beneficiaries were mainly those involved in viable informal productive activities with limited financial requirements but never had access to loans from the formal financial sector.

“It is meant to give priority to the most vulnerable in our society, like widows, youth, persons with disabilities and the internally displaced persons, amongst others,” she said.

She said that at least 4,144 beneficiaries were selected from across the 27 Local Government Areas of Imo.

The minister also said that the process of their selection was transparent, adding that the beneficiaries were verifiable.

“These beneficiaries now have bank accounts.
“They have been given ATM cards and are currently being enumerated.

“All these are our deliberate efforts to enhance financial inclusivity of our poor in a sustainable manner,” Farouq said.

She further said that the GEEP roll-out, which heralded a launch and disbursement of loans in all the states, was a consolidation of the National Social Investment Programme.

“This programme is being implemented in close partnership with the State Government and this effort is a clear demonstration of our collective commitment to address poverty, which is the core developmental challenge confronting us as a people,” she further said.

NAN reports that GEEP 2.0 has three unique products, including Tradermoni loan of N50,000, meant to uplift the under-privileged and marginalised youths between the ages of 18 and 40 years.

The second is MarketMoni loan, also of N50,000 for the under-privileged and marginalised women, like widows, divorcees and other vulnerable groups.

The third is FarmerMoni loan of between N50,000 and N300,000 designed for small scale farmers in the communities to improve their productivity and inclusion into commercial farming.

In a remark, Gov. Hope Uzodimma pledged the Imo Government’s readiness to play a complimentary role toward the success of the programme.

“I have seen that Federal Government alone cannot get to you people without the support of the State and Local Governments.

“That is why I have pleaded that more Imo people should benefit from the programme.

“The minister has graciously approved that more Imo people would benefit,” Uzodimma said.

He further described the home-grown feeding programme as one of the best inititiatives of the Federal Government.
“That is why I want all our parents to pick interest knowing that your children will eat when they go to school.

“Pick interest in how the food is prepared and served,” he said

The governor said that the Federal Government’s gesture had proved that promises could be made and fulfilled in politics.
He recalled that in 2021, his administration gave N250,000 each to 15,000 youths in the state.

He promised that the figure would be increased before the end of the year.

The governor, who commended Buhari for his interest in the masses, urged the beneficiaries to utilise the loans judiciously to meet the expected economic impacts. (NAN)

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