We have shared 66 billion naira with 1.2 million Nigerian businessmen: FG –

The federal government said on Tuesday it had disbursed 66 billion naira to 1.2 million Nigerians under its Micro-Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Survival Fund and Abduction Guarantee Scheme. .

Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Mariam Katagum said this during a public meeting of beneficiaries of the MSME Survival Fund and Guaranteed Levy Scheme in Abuja .

According to the minister, the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP) program disbursed the amount directly to the beneficiaries.

The objective of the meeting is to highlight the achievements of the program in the country and collect feedback from beneficiaries on all program tracks.

The meetings, which took place simultaneously in Lagos, Kano, Bauchi, Enugu and Edo, also served as a vehicle for raising public awareness of the benefits of the interventions.

Ms Katagum said the scheme was born out of the need to stimulate the economy post-lockdown, particularly for small and medium-sized businesses and the previously salaried self-employed.

She added that it was creating production opportunities for MSMEs and providing conditional grants to struggling businesses and self-employed people struggling to pay their wages during COVID-19.

Ms. Katagum said the intended impact of the program was to directly engage 100,000 MSMEs in the productive sector and save 1.3 million jobs, by having independent entrepreneurs and micro and small businesses registered in Nigeria. as target beneficiaries.

The minister said that the implementation of the survival fund on the five tracks has yielded positive results.

She named the tracks as Payroll Support Scheme, Handicrafts and Transport Scheme, Formalization Support Scheme, General MSME Subsidy Scheme and Guaranteed Levy Scheme.

“Under the payroll support program, the objective was to increase the wage obligations of MSMEs in the sectors of health, production, education, hospitality and food production.

“A total of 490,408 employees received between N30,000 and N50,000 as three months salary across all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“The Artisan and Transport scheme was designed to provide a one-time grant of N30,000 to 333,000 beneficiaries.

“We currently have 398,260 self-employed and MSMEs benefited across all 36 states and the FCT,” she said.

Ms. Katagum said the CAC formalization support program has reached 100% as 250,000 businesses have been successfully registered in all 36 states and the FCT.

“The General MSME Grant Scheme provided a one-time grant of N50,000 to MSMEs and the target was 100,000 MSMEs. In total, 82,491 companies have benefited from the scheme.

“Similarly, the Guaranteed Off-take Scheme (GOS) recorded a total of 37,024 beneficiary companies out of the target of 100,000 beneficiaries.

“Under this program, the takeout items were products such as face masks, hand sanitizers, food items, among others, from micro and small businesses in the 36 states of the federation and the FCT. .

“These items were then given to state governments and the FCT for subsequent distribution to schools, hospitals, NGOs, and other public and private institutions.

“Overall, the fund disbursed the sum of N66,000,020,000 directly to 1,258,183 beneficiaries including those registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission,” Ms Katagum said.

She said, however, that there was an initial lack of trust on the part of the beneficiaries as it was necessary to obtain their details, including BVN.

“The above is closely related to the initial apathy of Nigerians towards government intervention programs as they assumed that you had to know someone to benefit from the program.

“There was a heavy reliance on the use of information and communication technologies for transparency and traceability, which also left the program vulnerable to infiltration attempts by internet scammers.

“There have also been cases of multiple applications, using false documents, false beneficiaries and attempts to bribe officials to circumvent processes,” she said.

Ms Katagum urged recipients who failed to deliver their items to do so or face legal action.

She said that “under the guaranteed removal program, 19,928 recipients failed to deliver their items after receiving the 30% mobilization fee, thereby breaking their contract with the federal government.

“At the national level, we had a few deviating cases of 19,928, where MSMEs who received the initial mobilization of 30% for the GOS did not deliver the items, thus voiding the obligations they had signed with the government federal.

“It should be noted that despite mass text messages (SMS) sent at least three times to the defaulters and the opening of a dedicated account at the BOI for the reimbursement of the initial sum, many defaulters have not returned the amount initial.

“The steering committee directed the appropriate agencies to begin the process of recovering these funds and possibly prosecuting the defaulters, as they blocked the chances of other MSMEs who would have benefited from the scheme,” Ms Katagum said.

Earlier, Tola Adekunle-Johnson, Special Assistant to the President for MSMEs and Project Coordinator of the MSME Survival Fund and Guaranteed Levy Scheme, said there had been an initial setback caused by initial mistrust and apathy. of the public regarding the program.

He said this resulted in many applicants failing to register.

Mr Adekunle-Johnson, however, said he had set the stage for the second phase of implementation where more public interest emerged in the scheme.

Some of the Survival Fund recipients praised the federal government for the program, noting that it provided needed relief during the COVID-19 era.

Pius Nnamani, National Organizing Secretary, Amalgamated Commercial Tricycle and Motorcycle Owners Repairs and Riders Association of Nigeria (ACTOMORAN) said the program has helped its members to grow their businesses.

According to him, the support that has helped them during the COVID-19 pandemic has seen many of us improve our businesses.

Idoko Sunday, director of Zuel Agro Business, said grants received from the scheme helped the company pay staff during the lockdown.

Adeyemi Osasuwaya, representative of the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), described the survival fund as timely given the nature of the services rendered by the association.

“We are happy with what the government is doing and we want them to continue to do more and pray to God to strengthen the Nigerian government to do more,” he said.


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