Determined to uphold transparency and strict accountability, the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development will ensure honesty and fairness in implementing the second phase of the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme, GEEP.
Those recruited to administer the programme across the country will also give an undertaking on probity, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouq disclosed while flagging off the training of Master Trainers and Community Orientation and Mobilization Officers, COMOs, in Abuja.
GEEP is one of the four legs of the National Social Investment Programme, NSIP, and is designed to give collateral-free and interest-free loans to poor and vulnerable people identified at the bottom of the economic pyramid, including persons with disability. The packages are in three categories – Tradermoni, Marketmoni and Farmermoni.
The Master Trainers are senior officers of the National Orientation Agency, NOA, who will train and supervise community orientation and mobilization officers as desk officers in all the 774 local government areas across the 36 states and the FCT. The desk officers will sensitize communities on the GEEP programme; register interested beneficiaries of TraderMoni, MarketMoni and FarmerMoni, collect and collate necessary data for the programme; provide necessary feedback to the programme coordinators; encourage active participation of the programme and uphold the mandate of the programme and are expected to lead with honesty and fairness to all beneficairies.
“The training is expected to educate the master trainers about the newly introduced structure of top-bottom representation from the Federal through State and Local Government levels, as well as inform them on the roles and responsibilities of the COMOs who will register and enlighten the target beneficiaries; educate them on how to access the GEEP loans in furtherance to help eradicate poverty and generate employment throughout the country,” the minister explained.
Hajia Umar Farouq said the GEEP programme now has a new organizational structure and implementation model to provide loans to beneficiaries. “The focus is to help empower the poor and vulnerable women, marginalized youth with enterprising skills and special consideration to empower those engaged in agriculture,” she disclosed.
The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Bashir Nura Alkali said the restructured GEEPS 2.0 intends to target under-privileged citizens and most vulnerable people in Nigeria giving special consideration to Women (widows, divorcees) Youths (orphans, out of school children and artisans) and Farmers (agricultural workers in rural areas).
He said the ministry is collaborating with state and local governments where state government officials will serve as focal persons while community orientation and mobilization officers will represent the GEEP Local Government desk office “in order to create a value-chain of supervision, institutionalization, coordination and facilitating the successful implementation of the programme.”
The training is specially designed towards exploring the new GEEP 2.0, which is an improvement of the already tested NSIP. It also entails exploring ways in which participants can develop advanced skills to encourage the poor and vulnerable citizens to participate and access the GEEP loans.
Chairman, House Committee on Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Abdullahi Salame lauded the collaboration of government agencies to ensure the achievement of policy goals which he said is indicative of government’s readiness to reduce cost and instill quality and competence in service delivery.
He said the involvement of NOA in community mobilization will promote efficiency in the implementation of the GEEP and ensure value for money appropriated by the National Assembly.
National Coordinator of NSIP, Dr. Umar Bindir said his team has embraced evidence-based approach in fighting poverty after an extensive research on previous poverty-alleviation schemes in the country. He said the scourge of out-of-school children now estimated at 14 million is best tackled by reducing rural poverty and fighting drug abuse, especially among young people.