The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has criticised some of the social investment programmes of the administration of incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, including TraderMoni and MarketMoni.
MarketMoni and TraderMoni – Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) initiatives launched in 2017 and 2018, respectively – were created to boost the country’s economy through leverage and access to finance for petty traders.
In the lead-up to the 2019 elections, the then-single-term Buhari administration came under fire for allegedly taking advantage of the programme for political gain. Speaking at The People’s Townhall, a live event of Channels Television in Abuja, Atiku derided the current administration’s approach to offering support to entrepreneurs at the grassroots.
“I think the defect in the system is not incorporating the system into an institutionalised process because what I understood TraderMoni and Market (Moni) with either the Vice President going around distributing money or the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs going round and distributing money.
“Why not create institutions that can actually attend to every sector of the economy as far as this MarketMoni or TraderMoni is concerned? As we said, we are going to vote N10bn to boost small and medium enterprises.
“We have a number of institutions where such funding can be channelled so that it is institutionalised, instead of personalising it and also using it for political purposes because currently, MarketMoni and TraderMoni have become political tools to promote political interests of a particular political party,” he said.
Asked if he would scrap TraderMoni and MarketMoni, the former Vice President replied in the negative, reiterating his desire is a more effective social welfare system.
“What I am saying is that they should be incorporated into an institution, so that it survives every government that comes in,” he said. “(The traders are not integrated) because there is no institution.
“If you have an institution to cater for that, the institution will be able to give everybody guidelines: ‘This is how to access these funds and this is how long it is going to take you to repair them and so on and so forth.’”