The Federal Government has launched the Artisan and Transport sector Track of the Survival Fund Scheme.
The scheme, by the Steering committee of the Survival Fund and Guarantee Off-take, will dole out N30,000 support to 333,000 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria.
A member of the Steering Committee of MSME Sustainability Group, Mrs Ibukun Awosika, said in Lagos that the sustainability plan was introduced by President Muhammadu Buhari on July 1.
Awosika, also Chairperson, Board of Directors, First Bank of Nigeria, said that the operation grant was being given to reduce the effect of income loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its resultant lockdown.
“The scheme aims to provide 9,009 beneficiaries in each of the 36 states of the federation and the FCT by leveraging duly registered and recognised associations.
“This is done with the objective of having their members benefit directly from the scheme, so that they can attest to its transparency and effectiveness.
“We will depend very much on both individual participation and the honesty of the associations in ensuring that those who are qualified are the ones supported, who benefit,” she said.
According to Awosika, the responsible evaluations would be done before the money is disbursed to those approved for it.
“We encourage you to open an account number so that the money would be paid directly into the beneficiary’s account as we will not be handing out cash,” she said.
Awosika noted that certain key programmes such as Guarantee Off Take program and the Payroll program would greatly benefit and add value to the artisans and transport operators, beneficiaries of the scheme.
“Guarantee Off take program is directed at benefiting certain people in the productive sector of the country.
“Certain categories of products will be ordered by the government from Nigerian producers in those sectors with the aim of also benefiting those states within which they function.“You will hear more about it as we kick off each segment of the program,” she said.
Awosika said that the payroll support which kicked off on Sept. 21 involved company owners who had been challenged by COVID in their ability to pay salaries to their workers.
“Therefore, the government has instituted a programme that allows company owners to apply for salary support of a maximum of N50,000 for a maximum of 10 members of staff for a period of three months.
“The qualification criteria has been made simple in order to ensure that many companies can benefit from it within the budget that the government is working with.
“We already have hundreds of thousands of applications from Nigeria,” she said.
Mr Kayode Pitan, Managing Director, Bank Of Industry and a member of the steering committee, said the government wanted to ensure that women got their fair share from the scheme.
“Forty-five percent of those who are going to benefit from the scheme in each state will be women and there is also 5 percent reserved for those with special needs.
“The amount is N30,000 per individual, which will be given to the beneficiaries through the associations,” he said.
Pitan said that all associations must be duly registered with Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) as a requirement to be able to obtain the funds for their members.
“Each beneficiary also has to have a BVN number, but if you do not have one, you can still benefit through the leadership of the assoction registered with the CAC,” he said.