The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) says contrary to speculations, the TraderMoni sheme enjoys constitutional backing as one of the programmes of the Federal Government aimed at intervening in the lives of indigent Nigerian traders.
BMO made this known in a statement signed by its Chairman, Niyi Akinsiju, and Secretary, Cassidy Madueke, on Monday in Abuja.
The group said the clarification became necessary in response to Atiku Abubakar’s claim in his petition at the Presidential Election Tribunal, that the TraderMoni scheme amounted to vote-buying and lacked budgetary backing.
Abubakar was the the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Feb. 29 general poll.
BMO said the former Vice President may be scornful of poor people, which explains why he seem inattentive to the fact that the programme was aimed at providing collateral and interest-free loans to small scale traders.
The group explained that TraderMoni comprises of soft loans to small scale traders; the traders are expected to pay back the loan.
It added that the N10,000 was meant to provide extra capital for the small scale traders to expand on their small businesses, buy more goods to sell, and then pay back within six months.
“After repaying this N10,000, they are now entitled to N15,000, which when they repay, makes them eligible to N20,000, then N30,000, up to N100,000.
“Government had over time concentrated its efforts and policies on the welfare of the elites, the minority who are already well to do while neglecting the majority, poor Nigerians, by not creating policies that empower them directly and indirectly,” it said.
The group said that the President Buhari-led administration believes that the welfare of the poor is as important as that of the elite and thus they must be catered for as well.
It noted that with the facilities, low-income traders are able to access more funds to boost their capital and gradually expand their businesses.
It said that the programme received legislative blessing in the budget as it was under the Social Investment Programmes, which had its budget presented and defended under that of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning.
“TraderMoni is a part and parcel of the Buhari’s administration’s Social Investment Programmes, which has followed proper budgetary procedure in its implementation.
“The Programmes were approved by the Saraki and Dogara-led National Assembly, which hailed it as the largest form of social investment on the continent.
“It is thus a figment of Atiku’s imagination that the programme has no legal backing. But we are not surprised, Atiku is a master of badly scripted tales that have no place in reality,” the group said.
The group recalled that the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo was recently in Anambra and Ebonyi States to monitor and assess progress of the TraderMoni Scheme in the two states.
“Is there any election coming soon, that the Vice President is going to purchase votes for? None! Atiku’s suggestion that the programmes are vote-buying schemes is not just baseless and unreasonable, they are cheap lies,” the group added.
The group said Atiku’s seeming contempt for the poor renders him unable to understand and appreciate the Buhari government’s policies and programmes aimed at making their lives better.