The Federal Government of Nigeria on Thursday commenced the disbursement of N30,000 to artisans under the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) survival fund in Lagos, Kano and 10 other states.
The artisan and transport support scheme is designed to provide 333,000 artisans and transport business operators with N30,000 operations grant each to reduce the effects of income loss during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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The scheme was flagged off simultaneously in Lagos and Abuja.
The beneficiaries are drawn from tailors, bricklayers, hair stylists, printers, cart pushers, conductors, keke riders and okada riders who are registered with their respective trade associations.
In Abuja, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Marian Yelwa Katagum, kicked off the Artisan Support Scheme as part of the activities to mark Nigeria’s Diamond Independence Anniversary of October 1, 2020.
Amb. Katagum said the implementation of the scheme has been divided into three streams and the first stream, launched on Thursday, would run from October 1 to October 15, 2020 across the 12 states –
Lagos, FCT, Anambra, Kano, Kaduna, Ekiti, Borno, Bauchi, Abia, Rivers, Plateau and Delta.
The minister said 45 per cent of the grants will go to female artisans.
The Project Coordinator/ Special Assistant to the Vice President on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Mr. Tola Johnson, said the scheme was part of a comprehensive Artisan and Transport Support Scheme designed to provide 333,000 artisans and transport business operators with a N30,000 operations grant to reduce the effect of income loss during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said beneficiaries must have bank accounts, Bank Verification Numbers and association identification number.
Johnson said the scheme would provide 9,009 beneficiaries in each of the 36 states and the FCT.
In Lagos, the Vice Chairman of the steering committee, Dr. Ibukun Awosika, while addressing the beneficiaries, said: “We are trying to cover every level of Nigerian involved in one form of artisanship.
“We will depend very much on your participation and the honesty of the group to ensure that only those qualified are evaluated for the grant.”
She said the other form of intervention which involved payroll support involved those companies which were challenged by COVID-19 and were unable to pay salaries.
“It involves a maximum of N50,000 for not more than 10 members of staff for a period not more than three months,” she added.
The MD of the Bank of Industry (BoI), Olukayode Pitan, said, “FG is rolling out, under NESP, support schemes for MSMEs nationwide, including a Guaranteed Off-take Scheme and an MSMEs Survival Fund that will make payroll support available to save jobs and sustain local production.”
He hinted at plans by the FG to offer 250,000 free slots for corporate affairs registration for small business as part of the intervention.
“We have decided that 54 per cent of the amount in each state would be reserved strictly for women and another five percent for people with special needs.”
He added that the collection of the funds was through bank accounts, urging those who did not have a bank account open one.
The Stream two of the scheme begins October 19 to 31, 2020 with Edo, Ogun, Ondo, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Enugu and Ebonyi states benefitting.
Stream three will commence on November 9 to 21, 2020 across Akwa-Ibom, Cross-River, Zamfara, Yobe, Sokoto, Nasarawa, Niger, Imo, Oyo, Osun, Jigawa, Gombe and Benue states.