Why MSME survival fund and guaranteed off-take scheme was set up, by NESP official
A member of the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP), Ubadigbo Okonkwo, said, yesterday, that the Micro, Medium and Small Enterprises (MSME) Survival Fund and Guaranteed Off-take Scheme was borne out of the need to stimulate the economy, post lockdown, especially for small and medium-scale businesses and self-employed individuals.
He stated that the desire was to create production opportunities for small and medium enterprises and provide conditional grants to distressed businesses and self–employed individuals, who have been strained with payment of salaries after the COVID-19 experience.
Okonkwo told The Guardian in Enugu that, across the world, the COVID-19 pandemic caused disruptions in demand and supply chains, especially for corporate and household products and commodities, adding, however, that the Federal Government responded with the survival fund and guaranteed off-take scheme as its interventions to support micro and small businesses, adversely affected by the pandemic.
Appraising the programme, which was set up in 2020 in the South East, he stated that its anticipated impact was to directly engage 100,000 small and medium enterprises in the production sector and save, at least, 1.3 million jobs.
“The implementation of the survival fund across the five tracks yielded positive results. The tracks are the payroll support scheme, artisan and transportation scheme, formalisation support scheme, general MSME grant scheme and guaranteed off-take scheme. Under the payroll support scheme, the target was to augment the payroll obligations in the health, production, education, hospitality and food production sectors and to reach 500,000 beneficiaries.
“The artisan and transportation scheme is designed 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 Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) formalisation scheme has achieved 100 per cent, as 250,000 businesses have been successfully registered across the 36 states and the FCT,” he noted.
Giving a further breakdown of the scheme’s achievements in the South East, he added that 64,533 benefitted from the payroll support scheme; 11,737 from the MSME grant scheme; 61,046 from the artisan and transport scheme; 34,331 and 2,538 from the formalisation support and off-take schemes, respectively.
He, however, noted that 19,928 cases of people, who failed to supply items for the Guaranteed Off-take Scheme, after they received an initial 30 per cent, had negated the bonds they signed with the Federal Government.