Will Renewed Hope MSMEs programme address Nigeria’s economic empowerment, poverty alleviation concerns?

This week, First Lady Oluremi Tinubu unveiled a visionary plan under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led administration to provide a lifeline to Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria.

The First Lady took centre stage at the official flagging-off of the rebranded and expanded Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), now known as the Renewed Hope Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise (MSME) Programme at the State House in Abuja.

The First Lady’s impassioned address emphasized the present administration’s commitment to creating a positive ripple effect, generating employment opportunities that would uplift the lives of Nigerians.

She underscored the profound impact that MSMEs have on vulnerable members of society, particularly emphasizing their pivotal role in fostering inclusive growth and providing tangible benefits, especially to women and persons with disabilities.

Small-scale businesses, the First Lady said, serve as platforms for economic empowerment, offering self-reliance to those with limited resources when equipped with skills and a supportive environment. The rebranding of the programme’s components —Tradermoni, Farmermoni and Marketmoni — was highlighted as a significant step towards deeper engagement, especially among women, traders and farmers. The use of native languages in the rebranding aimed to enhance understanding and convey the practical implications of the programme.

As part of the federal government’s National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), the Renewed Hope MSMFs Programme focuses on offering interest and collateral-free loans to small-scale entrepreneurs. The First Lady stressed the democratization of financial resources, breaking down barriers that hinder the active participation of the poor in economic activities.

Expressing concern over traditional bank loans with high-interest rates and stringent collateral requirements, the First Lady emphasized that MSMEs programs eliminate these barriers, creating a more accessible and supportive environment for individuals to start and expand their businesses.

The absence of exorbitant interest rates ensures that entrepreneurs can reinvest profits back into their businesses, fostering growth and resilience. This, in turn, contributes to job creation and economic stability within communities.

The First Lady offered valuable advice to potential loan recipients, urging them to plan wisely, exercise financial discipline, invest strategically, commit to repayment agreements, and remain flexible in navigating the dynamic business landscape.
The official flagging-off ceremony concluded with a hopeful note from the First Lady, who invoked divine blessings on the Renewed Hope MSMEs Programme, wishing all participants successful and prosperous business ventures.

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, added further depth to the initiative, shedding light on the market—moni scheme. This scheme targets an ambitious 1.5 million beneficiaries across various states and covers all 109 senatorial districts in the country.

The scheme’s goal is clear — to lift 50 million Nigerians out of poverty. It outlined the practical aspects, detailing the registration process, including the recording of Bank Verification Numbers (BVNs) in major markets across senatorial districts. Upon registration, beneficiaries are set to receive interest-free and collateral-free loans of N50,000, empowering them to invest in and grow their businesses.

The minister highlighted the administration’s broader initiatives, including N-Power projects, homegrown school feeding projects, and the upcoming End-Hunger project. The government is actively working towards comprehensive change within a year, addressing multi-dimensional poverty through various interventions.
The unveiling of the Renewed Hope Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Programme signals a pivotal moment in Nigeria’s quest for economic empowerment and poverty alleviation.

With a holistic approach that combines financial support, rebranding for deeper engagement, and a commitment to addressing multi-dimensional poverty, the administration, under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, aims to build a resilient and prosperous nation. As Nigerians embark on this renewed journey, they do so with a sense of pride, hopeful for a future where the Renewed Hope has truly come to fruition.