No fewer than 40,000 petty traders in Ebonyi are to receive N10, 000 soft loan each under the Federal Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme (GEEP), the Project Supervisor, Mr Adebowale Bakare, has said.

Bakare made the disclosure on Monday in Abakiliki during the launch of the programme at the Abakpa Market.

He said that the programme was targeting between 30, 000 and 40,000 traders in the state to benefit from the facility designed to empower petty traders across the country in collaboration with the Bank of Industry.

Bakare said: “The programme facilitated by the Generating Demand Management Group (GDM) was designed to empower petty traders with at least N10,000 each to improve their businesses. The accounts are already profiled by the GDM.”

He added that the beneficiaries had also been captured with their businesses in the GDM database since two months ago.

He stressed that the collateral-free loan was initiated “to grow the economy and reduce poverty through micro-enterprise development.”

Bakare said that the beneficiaries had between three and six months to repay the loan with a minimal interest of N250 on the principal.

Two beneficiaries of the programme, Kingsley Ogbonna and Monday Ibina, commended the federal government for the initiative.

They said in separate interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the loan would help boost their businesses ahead of the Christmas sales.

Ogbonna said that “the federal government has done well” and promised to abide by he conditions for the loan repayment.

Mr Nwafor Ogechukwu said that they were initially told that the money was in the form of grant not loan.

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