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Millions of Nigerians impacted by COVID-19 stimulus, says FG

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[FILES] Health official push oxygen cylinder on a troley to treat COVID-19 patients suffering from acute respiratory challenge at a ward in Lagos State Isolation Centre, Yaba on January 22, 2021.The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Nigeria is increasing rapidly following daily report by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) even as Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital accounted for the highest number of cases in the country.


• Osinbajo receives reports on disbursement, others

The Federal Government, yesterday, declared that millions of Nigerians had so far been impacted by the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) COVID-19 stimulus packages.

This came as ministers and heads of agencies reported further progress in the implementation of the Federal Government’s ESP at a meeting of the committee presided over by Vice President Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Highlights of the reports presented to the committee include the release of N37 billion for the survival fund covering schemes like N50,000 payroll support for three months to over 300,000 beneficiaries, one-time grant of N30,000 to about 100,000 artisans, and 100,000 business name registrations paid for by the Federal Government.

While the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mariam Katagum, reported the progress of the survival fund to the committee, the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, gave reports on the bank’s intervention, including disbursement of over N192 billion for household/MSMEs grants to 426,000 beneficiaries across the country, with plans to do over N100 billion more in that category named Targeted Credit Facility.

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The CBN governor also disclosed that under the collateral-free agric-business/small and medium enterprise investment scheme, there were ongoing grants of concessionary loans from between N150,000 to N2.5 million. In that category, the governor disclosed that over N106 billion had been disbursed so far to over 27,000 beneficiaries.

In the agric sector, Agriculture and Rural Development Minister, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, reported that under the ESP, 5.4 million farmers had been enumerated to get the support under the plan.

He added that for the enumeration, which involved geospatial tagging, almost 73,000 N-Power volunteers were trained and 30,000 of them deployed to all the 774 local councils. For the purposes of funding through the CBN, the minister said 2.9 million of the farmers had their BVN enrollment validated.

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, briefed the committee that broadband penetration in the country had moved from 38 per cent last year to 45 per cent now, while over 170 institutions had been registered to conduct the NIN. He also said that Telcos would be licensed for the enrolment, while over 1,060 registration centres had been activated across the country for the NIN.

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He said that 56.18 million NINs had been collected by mobile network operators. Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, in a statement, yesterday, said others who briefed the committee included Labour, Employment and Productivity Minister, Dr. Chris Ngige and his Minister of State colleague, Mr. Festus Keyamo.

The statement explained that Ngige, in his presentation, listed the Federal Government’s efforts to prevent the retrenchment of members of staff in the private sector because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Works and Housing Minister, Babatunde Fashola reported on the ministry’s co-ordinated FG Public Works programme, while Mr. Keyamo reported on the progress of the Special Public Works that hired 774,000 workers across all local councils of the country.

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