While it is alleged that the TraderMoni scheme is a collateral-free loan targeted at petty traders and artisans, it has been enmeshed in Fraud allegations, illegal deductions. The scheme is cordinated by the Bank of Industry and the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, a unit in the Office of the Vice President, have six months to repay the loan with flexible options of N85 daily or N430 weekly.
Beneficiaries who receive an initial loan of N10,000, will qualify to obtain further loans of N15,000, N20,000 and N50,000, if they don’t default in repaying the facility.
However Punch gathered that a graduate of Food Science from the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Daramola who ventured into petty trading, after quitting his previous job, had his hope crashed after he only got the sum of N8,000 – N2,000 less than the amount promised by the Federal Government.
The petty trader who expressed worries over how he would still be expected to repay N10,000, according to the requirements of the scheme, wrote via his Twitter handle @DaramolaMike22;
“So I received the #TraderMoni by #FG today, but to my surprise, the officials gave out N8,000 instead of N10,000 which means they deducted N2,000 each from everyone who got the money. How do we make Nigeria work with such acts? @DrJoeAbah, @ProfOsinbajo, @segalink, @feladurotoye.”
It was gathered that he is not the only victim of the deduction. Agents who came to the market to disburse the loan to beneficiaries, initially collected N2,000 cash from each beneficiary before transferring N10,000 to their bank accounts. But later, they stopped collecting N2,000 cash from beneficiaries and transferred just the sum of N8,000 to them.
Cash transfers were made through the Eyowo app, which enables users to send or receive money and make other transactions with their phone number, with or without a bank account. Speaking to Punch correspodent, Daramola said;
“What happened was that their agents came to the market to sensitise traders about the scheme. That was how I got to know about it. Actually, I know the initial loan of N10,000 cannot do much for my business, but my target was to be able to repay the loan on schedule so as to qualify for the larger loans, which will help me to grow my business.
“The agents took our names and phone numbers and told us that we would get a message from them if we were successful.
“After about two months, I got a message that I had qualified to receive the loan. Many other traders in the market (Sabo market, Ikorodu) also got the same message.
“When the agents came to pay us the money, they asked us to show the message they sent to us before we could receive the money.
“We already knew it was N10,000 because that was what they told us when they came to sensitise us about the TraderMoni scheme and we had also heard in the news that that was the amount the government was giving out as loan to petty traders, so we were expecting N10,000.
“Initially, when the agents want to pay people, before they transfer N10,000 to anybody, they will first collect N2,000 cash from the beneficiary. They were collecting N2,000 cash before transferring N10,000, which means what they were giving out to beneficiaries in the market was N8,000.
“But after doing that for the first two days they came to disburse the loans, they stopped collecting N2,000 cash and instead just transferred N8,000 to the beneficiaries.”
Several other traders in Sabo market corroborated Daramola’s account, and further stated that no explanation was given for the deduction of N2,000 from the loan; meanwhile, they are still expected to repay N10,000.
Further checks by our correspondent revealed that similar deductions were recorded among beneficiaries in some other markets in Lagos, particularly in the Mushin and Oyingbo areas. In both areas, it was alleged that some traders who were ‘sponsored’ or ‘brought into the scheme’ by the market leaders received even less than N8,000, in cash from the said market leaders, who reportedly received the loans from the agents on behalf of the beneficiaries.
Efforts to track down the said agents, who disbursed N8,000 instead of N10,000 to beneficiaries at Sabo market and other areas, were not successful. The traders who were affected by the development told our correspondent that they didn’t have the contacts of the concerned agents.