By Emmanuel Udom
October 12, last year, 70 pre-qualified applicants and members of the Federation of Informal Workers’ Organizations of Nigeria (FIWON), drawn from 15 community clusters, across 12 local government areas in Lagos and Ogun States were beneficiaries of a revolving loan scheme.
The project is a partnership between FIWON and Street net International Economic Recovery Program (ERP).
Gbenga Komolafe, General Secretary of FIWON, in a report made available to www.csomedia.com.ng said the objectives of the scheme is to create a seed fund for a Revolving Intervention Fund to be recycled among identified active FIWON members, especially vulnerable members of the FIWON Cooperative Multipurpose Society who are currently out of work
It is also to grant vulnerable members of the organization, currently out of work, subsidized loan funds to get back to work
Representative of the Lagos State Government Department of Cooperatives commended the FIWON and SNI for the initiative and educated those at the program on how community cooperatives are to operate according to the Lagos State Guidelines on Cooperatives.
He emphasized the need to be registered with the government, the importance of ensuring due diligence in terms of ensuring that savers save for a minimum of 6 months before they can apply for loans, the importance of guarantors who also must be savers, etc.
The Representative of GIZ also expressed delight about such an initiative geared towards assisting the poor, mostly women, badly hit by the Covid -19 pandemic to get back to work and pledged support for the effort in the future.
Komolafe further explained that the ERP program was a special initiative to get those active members of the Cooperative Society whose little businesses were badly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic back to work so that they might be able to resume active cooperative savings.
He therefore urged beneficiaries to pay up as at when due so that another set of beneficiaries would be able to benefit.
It could be recalled that before the October event, three FIWON Multipurpose Cooperative Society officials visited all the existing clusters from where members of the FIWON Multipurpose Cooperative were drawn.
The purpose of the visit was to verify lists of beneficiaries submitted by Community Cluster leaders/Coordinators and hold meetings with them. During the meetings, the long lists of over 230 loan applicants were pruned down to 60 based on the principle of prioritizing the most vulnerable and in-need members.
The FIWON/SNI Economic Recovery Program was formally launched on October 12, 2021, in Lagos Nigeria.
Present at the occasion was a Representative of the Lagos State Government Department of Cooperatives, Mr. Bolade, a Representative of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Lagos, Dr. Temilade Sesan of the Leading Integrated Research for Agenda 2030 in Africa (LIRA 2030) and OSF/SNI Consultant, FIWON leaders including the General Secretary, Gbenga Komolafe.
However, the National Treasurer of FIWON, Ms. Frances Onokpe, handed over the loan grants to the beneficiaries, even as the initial plan of utilizing almost 40% of the ERP for the purpose of a training workshop was reviewed in view of the overwhelming demand for the grant.
With funds saved from the training workshop that did not hold, 60 members instead of the 35 originally scheduled to be given the loan were eventually given the soft loan in 3 categories:
Category 1: 34 beneficiaries were paid the sum of 30, 000 naira only
Category 2: 25 beneficiaries were paid the sum of 20, 000 naira only
Category 3: 1 beneficiary paid 10, 000 naira only
It is expected that the loan would be paid within 90 days, that is on or before January 19, 2022, when new sets of beneficiaries will be eligible to be given the soft loan which attracts 5% service charge only to help offset part of the administrative costs, it was gathered.
Komolafe said to make it easier to account for the Revolving Funds, a separate account was opened for it while its operation was also integrated into the FIWON Cooperative Digital platform.
.Gbenga Komolafe, General-Secretary, Federation of Informal Workers’ Organizations of Nigeria, (FIWON) could be reached at: Baptist Academy Compound, Ikorodu Road, Obanikoro, Lagos State. Mobile: +234 708 560 1685