Diamond Bank Partners BoI On N140bn GEEP Fund
As part of efforts to ensure that more farmers, market women, youths and artisans access the N140 billion Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme (GEEP), the Bank of Industry (BoI) has gone into a partnership with Diamond Bank Plc.
The GEEP s a micro-credit scheme that provides loans to people at the bottom of the pyramid. The loans are between N10,000 and N100,000 and the tenor is six months. The beneficiaries pay back in weekly installments.
Speaking during a media briefing on the partnership in Lagos, the Chief Executive Officer of Diamond Bank Plc, Mr. Uzoma Dozie, described the collaboration as a public-private sector partnership. Dozie said the coming together of both organisations was to enable them bring their resources to bear in order to create a sustainable platform for entreprenuers and small businesses to access finance to grow their businesses.
“This is also to help create a sustainable environment. In any economy, the biggest employers of labour are the small businesses and not government and this is an opportunity to drive that. The most interesting part of this is the mechanism through which we are driving this. It is not about doling out cash, but using digital infrastructure to drive it.
“Not only is it going to provide finance, it is also a strategy to promote financial inclusion. When you make payments digitally, you can see what is happening with the money. For us at Diamond Bank, this is a sustainable path that I believe we need to invest in and I am very glad that we are working with the BoI to drive gender empowerment and sustainable growth of businesses,” the Diamond Bank boss explained.
Also shedding more light on the partnership, an Executive Director at the BoI, Mrs. Toyin Adeniji said the idea of access to finance to women, farmers, artisans and those at the bottom of the pyramid remains very important to the federal government and one of the ways the BoI aligns with that is to support micro-businesses.
According to her, what makes the GEEP initiative interesting is that every beneficiary must have a Bank Verification Number (BVN), they must belong to an association and they must get some form of endorsement from the association.
“When we think about financial inclusion in Nigeria and when we look at the commercial banks, Diamond Bank jumps at you because of their total commitment to financial inclusion. Not only because they say it, but because they do it. Financial inclusion is the heartbeat of this administration,” Adeniji added.