Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Wednesday, inaugurated the MarketMoni scheme at the Apo Mechanic Village, Abuja.
MarketMoni is an offshoot of the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme.
It is designed to provide loans to market women and traders, artisans, enterprising youths and small scale farmers and agric workers nationwide.
The interest free facility ranges from N50,000 to N100,000 and is repayable within six months.
Osinbajo, who was received by a cheering crowd, said that when the artisans were empowered, the Federal Government would empower more people as artisans had the capacity to employ more.
He said: “Those who employ the more are the artisans; they are the ones who can employ two, three, four, five people.
“If 1000 artisans employ four to five people, already we have 5000 new people who have been employed because employment is very important.
“Especially for all the young boys and girls who are coming out of school just to find something to do first and be paid for something; that is very important to us.
“When we give the facility, it is so that you can build your own business and then employ people in your business; the bigger your business, the bigger the employment opportunities are and the better for the country as a whole.’’
The vice president said that the Federal Government was focused on giving the loans through the Bank of Industry.
He said it was very important that the beneficiaries repaid the loan so that it could be multiplied.
Citing the Bible in Psalm 27 vs 21, Osinbajo said that only wicked people failed to repay loans.
He said: “The Bible says the wicked borrow and they do not repay; only wicked people borrow and they do not repay.
“Why? Because when you borrow and do not repay, nobody else can benefit; only you will benefit; so, it is important that we all pay back the loan so that we can continue to give more.
“We are going to give it by installments so that as some people get, we will start giving others as we go along.
“It is a bank; it is not just government; it is done set by set so long as they are genuine artisans who are supported by your associations.”
The vice president also went round the workshops and had one on one interaction with the mechanics.
Earlier, while receiving the vice president at the village, Chief Lawrence Onuchukwu, Vice Chairman, Abuja Municipal Area Council, said that over 30, 000 artisans/traders plied their trade there.
He said that the beneficiaries would reciprocate Federal Government’s gesture by voting massively for President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 Presidential election.
Onuchukwu said: “It may interest to you to know that the traders here are over 30,000 and come 2019, I want to assure that this great gesture will never go in vain; we will return it in votes.
“Our people will come out enmasse and return our `Baba’; the reason being that this is the only man who remembers the poor and the poor will remember you.
“Please continue this great gesture; Nigerians are feeling it; Nigerians are enjoying it; Nigerians are praying for you people; God will continue to bless you.’’
To benefit from MarketMoni, one is required to belong to a market association or registered cooperative society.