Here are frequently asked questions about Social Exchange Market and other important things you need to know about the grant scheme


These questions were born out of the email messages and comments we have received so far on the SEM Grant. Much controversy still flies around on the financial assistance scheme. As much as possible, our Editorial Staff has done justice to these questions (courtesy responses received from reliable sources by phone conversations).

What is Social Exchange Market All About?

It’s a financial assistance scheme whereby applicants receive money (grant) to establish or boost existing business venture. The term “Social Exchange Market” is both a programme and an organization. As an organization, it’s a charity NGO offering financial empowerment to grassroots in developing economies toward poverty eradication. It’s Nigerian office is in Abuja. It sources for fund from donors and then distributes to beneficiaries.

As a programme, it refers to a system where donors give free money to people to do business and then empower others by creating employment opportunities. In the process, by giving back to society, millions of jobs can be created in an economy.

How Will The Grant Be Made Available?

Social Exchange Market reaches the grassroots by connecting with cooperative societies and model microfinance outlets. As of today, the NGOs are registered with the organization who has given a mandate for each one to register 1000 applicants. It’s been found out that approved microfinance banks and multi-purpose cooperative societies are classified as NGOs too, under SEM plan.

Therefore, contrary to previous submission that only 3 NGOs (Bethany, Ishiba, ans Zethar) are associated with SEM, applicants who register with others are part of the financial assistance scheme.

What’s the Essence of Universal Collateral Register?

It’s an agreement between the NGOs that they will judiciously distribute the grants to target people and supervise them to ensure the monies are spent on business projects, so that the objectives of SEM may be realized. That means, the NGOs are taking responsibility for any mismanagement of the scheme. The grant is not for anyone to buy cars, build houses, and do other personal things.

Why are these NGOs Signing UCR and not the usual National Collateral Register at CBN?

 The grant is coming from a charity, to be disbursed through SEM, the organization that works with NGOs, like Ishiba, Bethany, Main Wealth MB Ltd, etc. If the organization had chosen to disburse its fund through a government agency, Nigerians will have to apply at designated ministries. There is no standing rule that says NGOs must move their funds through CBN, BOI, Besides, National Collateral Register is applicable to loan and credit facilities, such as Anchor Programme, and not grants.

Why is it that SEM Doesn’t Partner with Government Agencies?

History tells us that if loans and credit facilities are available for Nigerians, there will be much publicity to get State Governments or Cooperative Societies to apply for them. But when grants come from foreign entities, you hardly hear that in the news. Scholarships and grants are not announced in Nigeria of today. Politicians, Board Chairmen, Directors, Permanent Secretaries, Senators, and the likes will all have slots until none is reserved for the masses. (Did you hear of the latest grant scandal that involved a government agency and a Chinese company?)

How Much is the Grant?

Right now, there is no information as to the amount of money, but sources have disclosed that each Outlet is entitled to N10B. That suggests that the tune of the grant is millions of dollars. Depending on their project, an applicants gets N3-N10 million. However, 1% of this fund goes to the NGOs as administrative charges.

What’s the source of the Fund?

For privacy reasons, this is not being disclosed.

In that case, why won’t the Government Be Involved in such a huge cash flow?

Money Laundering Acts and the role of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) cannot be overemphasized. Recently ago, there were indications that papers would be signed with such commissions to establish the genuineness of the fund movement into bank accounts of the NGOs.

Can I Still  Apply For the SEM GRANT?

There are news flying around that people can still apply, but we advise everyone should give heed to what The approved NGOs will announce to themselves.

Leave a comment


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here