As part of the present administration’s Social Investment Programmes (SIPs), the federal government has disbursed loans to 23,400 beneficiaries in 13 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) under the Government’s Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP).
Also yesterday, the presidency said it was not true that there were payment issues or food rationing taking place in states where the Homegrown School Feeding Programme has kicked off.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, disclosed this yesterday in a statement.
He gave the names of the states as Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Ekiti, Kogi, Kwara, Niger, Lagos, Osun and Ogun.
Others are Oyo, Ondo, Rivers and the FCT.
The micro-credit scheme is a no-interest loan scheme with only a one-time five per cent administrative fee for costs.
The loan is targeted at micro-enterprises: traders, artisans, market men and women, entrepreneurs, farmers with the involvement of cooperatives and executed through the Bank of Industry, (BoI.)
Akande said although over 23,000 people had benefited from the loans, altogether, over one million people had already enrolled for the programme across the country and were expected to benefit this year.
He said: “To facilitate the loan disbursement, four payment providers have been signed-on for the programme mostly in the urban areas. The next wave of payment providers, coming on stream by March 2017, would provide a much wider coverage in the rural areas.”
The Vice President aide also announced that about 8,436 market associations and co-operatives nationwide had been registered for this scheme through the web portal (www.boi.ng/market), as well as through paper application forms.
He said the loans ranged from N10,000, to N100,000 per applicant.
While the loans would be paid directly to individuals, they are expected to belong to registered associations and/or cooperatives as the case may be, to ensure that they are peer-endorsed as credible, and to facilitate timely repayments.
All beneficiaries are expected to have BVNs and bank accounts.
On the National Homegrown School Feeding Programme, Akande said actual feeding of pupils was expected to commence this week in Ogun and Oyo States, while Ebonyi State will soon follow suit.
He said: “Contrary to insinuations in some quarters and inaccurate reports in some sections of the media, there are no payment issues or any kind of food rationing taking place in states where the Homegrown School Feeding Programme has kicked off.
“While the federal government has paid all approved cooks based on the number of pupils allocated to each cook, it is the state that provides the number of pupils to be fed. And where those figures change, the next batch of federal government payment would reflect it.
“Specifically, where the number of pupils increase, the state will communicate the increase and approve the review. The numbers of the new pupils are then physically verified, before a commensurate number of cooks are engaged, trained and then paid.
“The federal government has also adopted a system where it pays the cooks a 10-day advance payment for feeding. The programme is designed to ensure that no cook feeds more than 150 pupils a day, but in some cases, the numbers are as low as 35 children per cook.
The meal which must be sufficient and nutritious is costed around locally sourced items and approved by the State under the N70 per child provision by the federal government. Food quality is monitored at the school level through the head teachers, the Parent Teachers Association, (PTA), and the state monitoring teams.