The Federal Government has approved the payment of N50,000 each to 100,000 small businesses in Nigeria as part of COVID-19 economic stimulus.
This was disclosed by Mr. Tola Johnson, Special Assistant to the President on Micro Small and Medium and Medium Enterprises(MSMEs), at the inauguration of the Implementation of Survival Fund and Guaranteed Off-Take Stimulus Schemes for MSMEs on Thursday in Abuja.
Johnson, who is also the Project Coordinator, said that the schemes were part of the Economic Sustainability Plan drafted by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo-led committee and approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Johnson said that the schemes would go a long way in mitigating the impact of COVID-19 lockdown on businesses.
“The schemes will be starting with the Payroll Support; the Payroll Support targets 100,000 businesses; however the number of individuals who will benefit from this is 500,000.
“The next will be the 100,000 MSMEs grants; what the government has done is to say that there a lot of MSMEs that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown; so, what we are trying to do is to very quickly inject N50,000 each to 100,000 micro businesses.
“Afterward, there is a CAC (Corporate Affairs Commission) free registration; it is free for the MSMEs but the government is paying the CAC for this.
“So, what the government has done is to say to the CAC, you do this regularly to the MSMEs at about N12,000 or thereabout; give it to us at half price, we will give it to the MSMEs free.’’
He said that under the National MSMEs Clinic, the vice president and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment have been to no fewer than 26 states.
Johnson said that in the course of the clinics, it was discovered that very creative businesses were not registered.
“They will tell you they don’t have N10,000 to N12,000 to register their businesses.
“So, the government had promised that at some point, we will do and I think the opportunity has come now; the opportunity cannot be better than now.’’
He said that under the Survival Fund, the last strap would be the Transport and Artisans Support.
According to him, no fewer than 333,000 beneficiaries will get a one-off N30,000 grant, adding that the government will be working with associations, individuals and the Ministry of Transportation to implement the scheme.
“After that, we move to the Guaranteed Off-take.
“We will be rolling out the schemes weekly; we plan to, for four weeks in a row, if we can and God permits put a smile in the face of MSMEs across all board.
“That is our plan; if things change, we will let you know.
“We are working with states because we do not want to get to a stage where the states will say how come 35,000 people are benefitting from our state and we do not know.
“So, the states have given us focal persons that will be having regular sensitisation programmes for the focal persons and the different clusters’ association heads.
“So that they now go ahead and feed their associations the right information,’’ he said.
Johnson said that the website for the survival fund is www.survivalfund.ng.
On her part, Mariam Katagum, Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, said that the two schemes were targeted to impact about 1.7million entities and beneficiaries across the country.
According to her, the MSMEs Survival Fund is a special grant to support vulnerable MSMEs in meeting their payroll obligations and secure jobs from the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic.
She said that the scheme was estimated to save nothing less than 1.3 million jobs across the country, while targeting an average of 35,000 individuals per state.
Katagum said that under the Guaranteed Off-Take, it was expected that about 300,000 jobs and 100,000 MSMEs would be saved by guaranteeing off-take of priority products.