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Laolu Akande: Obasanjo’s comment on TraderMoni shows ignorance, mischief

Laolu Akande: Obasanjo’s comment on TraderMoni shows ignorance, mischief

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Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has described former president Olusegun Obasanjo’s comment on TraderMoni as ignorant and mischievous.

In a statement, Laolu Akande, senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, said the former president has shown a complete misunderstanding of the programme initiated by the federal government to support petty traders.

In his state of the nation address tagged ‘Points for Concern and Action’, Obasanjo described the programme as “outrightly idiotic”, adding that there is a sinister motive behind it.

Akande said the vice-president does not personally distribute the money during his visits to the markets but creates awareness and assess the implementation of the programme.

He also denied the claim that beneficiaries of the scheme are asked to submit their permanent voter cards (PVCs) before they can get the loan.

“It is either that the former leader is ignorant of the true workings of Trader Moni and the role of the Vice President in its implementation or perhaps he is on a mischievous mission,” he said.

“Firstly, the Vice-President does not personally distribute money during his visits to the markets. He goes there to assess the progress of the implementation and to create awareness for a programme designed to meet the financing need of two million petty traders across the country in the first instance.

“Secondly, while one will not bother to further address the issue of timing of the implementation since such issues are now known to be political posturing, it is important to note that TraderMoni is being actively implemented across all states of the federation and the FCT. It is not only in Lagos and Abuja as was insinuated.

“These petty traders at the bottom of the economic ladder, with an inventory often less than N5,000, are beneficiaries of the TraderMoni scheme which provides N10,000 collateral/interest-free loans to them, empowerment that improves their small businesses, their families, while also contributing significantly to the economy.

“Thirdly, in what is certainly a curious comment, the former President has also been quoted as describing the TraderMoni scheme as idiotic. To label such people-friendly scheme as idiotic is not only an absurdity, it is also an affront to the sensibilities of these hard working Nigerians, the beneficiaries of the micro-credit scheme.

“Fourthly, the former president also rehashed discredited claims suggesting that TraderMoni beneficiaries were required to tender their PVCs, and questioned the timing of the implementation.

“Let me, therefore, state again that beneficiaries of TraderMoni are not required to show their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) or any document indicating their political affiliations to qualify for the loans.

“This is why the enumeration is done in the open markets and wherever the traders ply their trade. This issue has been addressed several times by the Presidency in the public space. Therefore, the former president’s alleged comments smirk of outright mischief as it regurgitates blatant falsehood.

“Equally, if the former president had conducted a simple act of diligence, he would have found that the National Assembly had approved this programmes and budgeted for them duly.”

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