This blog post explores the two pivotal programs initiated and recently launched by the Nigerian federal government—Market Moni and the Empowerment Program for Persons with Disabilities. From boasting small businesses to fostering inclusivity, these initiatives signify a transformative push towards economic empowerment and societal equity.
1. Market Moni Scheme (IyaLoja Market Moni)
In a bid to foster economic empowerment at the grassroots level, the federal government of Nigeria has recently launched the Market Moni program, also known as the IyaLoja Market Fund. This initiative is poised to bring about a transformative impact on the lives of millions of individuals, communities, and vulnerable groups across the nation.
Unveiling Market Moni
At the forefront of this initiative is President Bola Tinubu, who aims to rewrite the narrative of the common man in Nigeria. The unveiling of Market Moni marks a significant step towards renewed hope for those at the grassroots, offering them a chance at economic upliftment.
The official launch took place on 22nd November, 2023 with the First Lady of Nigeria, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, leading the ceremony alongside the Honourable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu.
Targeted Expansion of GEEP
Market Moni is an integral part of the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Program (GEEP), specifically designed to target and empower market women, a crucial segment of the population. The program’s primary objective is to provide financial support to small businesses, particularly those owned by women in various markets across Nigeria.
The First Phase: Empowering 500,000 Market Traders
In its initial phase, Market Moni aims to reach 500,000 market traders selected from 109 markets spanning every senatorial zone in the country. These selected individuals will receive a non-interest loan of 50,000 Naira each. This injection of capital is expected to serve as a catalyst for the growth of their small businesses, addressing the financial constraints that often hinder progress at the grassroots level.
IyaLoja Market Monie Scheme
A noteworthy aspect of Market Moni is the IyaLoja market monie scheme, specifically tailored for poor market women. This targeted approach acknowledges the unique challenges faced by women in the business sphere and seeks to empower them by providing financial resources to enhance their capital and improve overall business operations.
Impact on Communities and Vulnerable Groups
The ripple effect of Market Moni extends beyond individual beneficiaries. By empowering small businesses and market traders, the program contributes to community development and economic growth at the grassroots level. Vulnerable groups, often marginalized in economic activities, stand to benefit significantly from this initiative, fostering a more inclusive and equitable society.
2. Empowerment Program for Persons with Disabilities
In a groundbreaking move, the Federal Government of Nigeria has approved a 10% inclusion for Persons Living With Disabilities (PLWDs) in all its humanitarian and social safety interventions. Dr. Betta Edu, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, announced this during the launch of the Empowerment Programme for Persons with Disabilities in Abuja.
Inclusive Approaches Across Programs
PLWDs will benefit from various government programs, including the End Hunger program, Conditional Cash Transfer, N-power, Renewed Hope Shelters Program, Geep Programmes, and the CODE NIGERIA program. The National Commission for Persons With Disabilities will oversee the selection and implementation of this inclusive approach.
President Tinubu’s Vision for Special Abilities
Dr. Edu highlighted President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s perspective, seeing PLWDs not as individuals with disabilities but as possessing special abilities. This shift in perception aligns with President Tinubu’s commitment to inclusivity, evident in the appointment of PLWDs to key positions in the government and the signing of the African Charter on the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Multi-faceted Support for PLWDs
The empowerment program includes tangible support, such as the distribution of Point of Sales (POS) machines with a startup capital of N100,000, tertiary education scholarships amounting to N130,000 each, and an annual grant of N20 million to the Association of Persons Living with Disabilities in Nigeria.
Training and Business Development
Dr. Edu emphasized the commitment to training PLWDs in business development, facilitating business registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission, and creating a linkage with the Bank of Industry. This collaboration enables PLWDs to access low-interest loans of up to 1 billion Naira, contributing to business enhancement and job creation.
A Beacon of Hope
The Minister cautioned against the misuse of opportunities, underscoring the government’s strict monitoring and evaluation of the empowerment initiatives. She described the program as a beacon of hope, illuminating the path toward an inclusive and equitable society.
Support from Various Quarters
Key figures, including the Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Persons With Disabilities and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Disabilities, expressed optimism about the program. They commended President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda and Dr. Edu’s proactive leadership, ensuring a bright future for PLWDs in Nigeria.
National Assembly’s Commitment
The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Persons Living With Disabilities reiterated the National Assembly’s commitment to protecting the rights of individuals with disabilities. Discrimination against PLWDs is strictly prohibited, and the Assembly stands firm in safeguarding their interests through established legislation.
Business Registration and Support
Representatives from the Bank of Industry and Corporate Affairs Commission actively participated in the launch, facilitating the registration and opening of new businesses for PLWDs. Their presence underscored a collective effort to remove any barriers preventing people with disabilities from accessing support and empowerment.
In conclusion, the tandem efforts of Market Moni and the Empowerment Program for Persons with Disabilities underscore Nigeria’s commitment to holistic development. As Market Moni breathes life into grassroots economies, the focus on Persons with Disabilities marks a significant stride towards inclusivity. Together, these initiatives illuminate a path towards a more empowered, resilient, and equitable Nigerian society.