MSME survival fund records over 1,258,183 beneficiaries in two years
The Project Coordinator, MSME Survival Fund and Guaranteed Offtake Scheme, Tola Adekunle, has stated that over 1,258,183 beneficiaries have benefitted from the Federal Government’s Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) survival fund.
Indeed, the MSME fund launched by the Buhari-led administration in 2020 was to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic especially on vulnerable MSMEs and self-employed individuals in the country.
Adekunle, who was represented by the State Manager, Lagos, Bank of Industry (BoI), Uche Nwachukwu, at a town hall meeting for beneficiaries in Lagos, said the Project Delivery Office (PDO) worked with several partners to drive the five different tracks meant to support and sustain the livelihood of vulnerable MSMEs and self-employed individuals most affected by the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic, its prolonged lockdown and attendant social distancing guidelines.
According to him, the initial setback occasioned by initial public mistrust and apathy for the scheme, resulted in several applicants failing to complete their registration under the payroll support track.
He added that the MSME grant track and particularly the Guaranteed Offtake Scheme, received a significant uptake by the PDO in inquiries for application details.
He commended the present administration for the support given to MSMEs through the scheme, noting that across the 36 States and the FCT, a total of 398,024 beneficiaries received a one-off N30,000.
A member of the Steering Committee, Kamar Bakrin, said the town hall meeting is to highlight the scheme’s achievements around the country and to receive beneficiary feedback on all tracks of the scheme.
He noted that the meetings will also serve as a medium to sensitise the public (especially, the informal sector) on the advantages of Federal Government interventions. These meetings are taking place simultaneously in Lagos (South-West); Kano (North-West); Enugu (South-East); and, Edo (South-South).
He added that the National Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP) approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) was borne out of the need to stimulate the economy post lockdown, especially for small and medium-scale businesses and self-employed individuals previously gainfully employed, by creating production opportunities for MSMEs and providing conditional grants to distressed businesses and self-employed individuals who have been strained with payment of salaries post-COVID 19.
He noted that the anticipated impact of the programme was to directly engage 100,000 MSMEs in the production sector alone and save at least 1.3 million jobs.
He stated that the programme had a target of 45 per cent female-owned MSMEs, and 5 per cent for those with special needs, saying that the overall target beneficiaries for the scheme were self-employed entrepreneurs, and micro and small businesses registered in Nigeria.
“A verification and approval platform was launched by the Project Delivery Office (PDO), and beneficiaries in the 36 States and FCT were invited to apply via the Survival Fund Portal. Applications were verified in line with the Project’s approved criteria, which include, Nigerian citizenship, registration in Nigeria with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), verifiable BVN of business owner and staff strength of not less than 3 persons
He pointed out that the implementation of the Survival Fund across the five tracks yielded positive results. The tracks are the Payroll Support Scheme, Artisan and Transport Scheme, Formalization Support Scheme, General MSME Grants Scheme, and Guaranteed Offtake Scheme.
“Under the Payroll Support Scheme, the target was to augment the payroll obligations of MSMEs in the Health, Production, Education, Hospitality, and Food Production Sectors and also, to reach 500,000 beneficiaries. In total, 490,408 employees received between N30,000 – N50,000 as three months’ salaries in the 36 States and the FCT,” he averred.
He said the Artisan and Transport Scheme proposed to provide a one-off N30,000 grant to 333,000 beneficiaries.
“We currently have 398,260 self-employed individuals and MSMEs who have benefitted across the 36 States and the FCT. The CAC Formalization Support Scheme has achieved 100 per cent as 250,000 businesses have been successfully registered across the 36 States and the FCT,” he said.
In his words: “The General MSME Grants Scheme gave a one-off N50,000 grant to MSMEs; the target was 100,000 MSMEs. A total of 82,491 businesses have benefited from the Scheme.”
One of the beneficiaries who also doubles as the State Secretary, National Commercial Motorcycle, Tricycle Owners and Riders Association of Nigeria (NACTOMORAN), Adediran Fidelis, commended the federal government for the grant, saying that the fund came at the right time as his business was almost at ground halt.
“We got N30,000 each in our association and we are hoping to get another tranche of the fund. This is the second time we are getting the fund,” he said.
He called on the federal government to sustain the programme in its bid to provide welfare for its citizenry, stressing that initiatives such as these would help to address issues of kidnapping, banditry and other social vices.
Another beneficiary, Juliet Ugwuoke, said she was surprised she got the fund because she did not believe in it when she first heard about the survival fund.
She said the fund has helped her pull through the Covid-19 era, commending the federal government to sustain the programme in its quest to keep businesses afloat in the country.