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Diamond Bank working with BoI to begin disbursement of N140bn GEEP Fund

Leading smart commercial bank, Diamond Bank Plc., has sealed a partnership deal with Bank of Industry (BoI), to deepen the business activities of micro entrepreneurs in the country.

The partnership is a tailored Special Purpose vehicle (SPV) to ease access from the N140 billion Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), Funds.

Key terms of the deal show that Diamond Bank will  provide the platform and customer base to disburse the fund which is open to beneficiaries nationwide, comprising market women, youths, artisans and farmers. The loan size ranges from N10,000 to N100,000 on five per cent interest rate and six month moratorium,

In a conference to flag off the scheme in Lagos, Ms. Toyin Adeniyi, Executive Director, Micro-Enterprises at BoI, said the GEEP is part of a larger social intervention programme of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. According to her, the GEEP Fund was part of the budgetary allocation in 2016 from N500 billion set aside by the administration for social investment programmes.

Adeniyi added that BoI is partnering with Diamond Bank in the programme because the bank has a ready market, covering four hundred thousand micro entrepreneurs in the bottom of the pyramid.

According to her, “By the time we started talking to Diamond Bank, they had even done 400,000 in terms of their capture of customers at the bottom of the pyramid. So we are doing this to see how we can do more and increase the number of beneficiaries that do enjoy this government programme that we are talking about. We believe that the beneficiaries will be able to use this efficiently, and also to use that to increase the GDP level because micro, small and medium enterprises are really the source of GDP growth for any country”.

“The loan is affordable at no interest. So, basically, the extra money you see is the administration fee of five per cent. That means if you take a loan of N20,000, at the end of six months, you will be paying N21, 000 at a weekly repayment.

Earlier in his address of welcome, amanging director of Diamond Bank Plc, Mr. Uzoma Dozie said that the first five thousand recipients would be women in commemoration of the 2017 International Women’s Week.

He stressed that the partnership would help to deploy the money to the real people that need them, adding that it would assist both institutions to improve financial standing of the beneficiaries in the society, while driving the federal government’s financial inclusion strategy.

Dozie noted that “We are excited about this partnership because at Diamond Bank, we have been able to launch programmes like BETA solution, which provides banking access especially to market women and people lower down the pyramid and it has been successful because over half a million women have saved more than N500 million in that space.

“For any bank, lending money is not easy, but lending safely is very key as in making sure that it gets to the right people and we believe that using this infrastructure that we are deploying, which is M-cash, to deploy and to also receive payment will be very easier.”

Continuing, he added that “We are very excited about it and we believe that it will be successful because we are bringing two institutions that believe that sustainability of Nigeria is important”.

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