From Tony Osauzo and Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
No fewer than 1,358,183 Nigerians have so far benefited from the Federal Government special interventions to Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) that helped sustained their businesses during the lockdown in 2020 caused by the COVID-19 pandemic through the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP).
From the South-South region 203,537 benefited while 41, 207 beneficiaries were from Edo State.
Minister of State Industry, Trade and Investment, Maria Katagum, who disclosed this at the National Economic Sustainability Plan, beneficiary town hall meeting, South-South, which held in Benin City yesterday, threatened Government investigation and possible legal action against defaulters.
The who was represented by the Director, Bank of Industry (BoI) who is a member of the steering committee of the programme, Adewale Bakare, said the NESP was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on the 1st of July 2020, following a proposal/recommendation by the Economic Sustainability Committee (ESC).
She explained that the programme gave special focus to 45 percent female owned MSMEs and 5 percent for those with Special Needs, adding that the implementation of the Survival Fund cut across five tracks which were Payroll Support Scheme, Artisan and Transport Scheme, Formalization Support Scheme, General MSME Grants Scheme, and Guaranteed Off-take 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.
“The Artisan and Transport Scheme purposed 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% as 250,000 businesses have been successfully registered across the 36 States and the FCT.
“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.
“The Guaranteed Offtake Scheme (GOS) recorded a total of 37,024 beneficiary businesses out of the target 100,000 beneficiaries. Under this scheme, the offtake items were products such as face masks, hand sanitizers, food items, etc., from Micro and Small businesses across the 36 states of the Federation and the FCT. These items were later handed over to the State Governments for onward distribution to Schools, Hospitals, NGOs, as well as other public and private institutions.
“Under the Guaranteed Offtake Scheme in the Edo State, 43 MSMEs successfully supplied their products after receiving mobilization. 174 MSMEs despite receiving the 30% mobilization fee failed to deliver their items, thereby disqualifying them from receiving the balance of payment and breaching their contract with the Federal government. This brings the total number of beneficiaries in Edo State to 41,207.Today, those 43 MSMEs who successfully delivered their products will be awarded Certificates of Commendation from the Federal Government for their participation in the Scheme.
“At the national level, we had some deviant cases, a total of 19,928 where MSMEs that were paid the initial mobilization of 30% for GOS failed to supply the items; thereby negating the bonds they signed with the Federal Government”, the stated.
In his remark, the Project Development Officer of the programme, Brume Obiuwevbi, said they worked with several partners to drive this track which he said included but were not limited to associations and unions of mechanics and automobile repairers, road transporters of all types.
Others were barbers, hair stylists, and cosmetologists, bricklayers, tailors and designers, plumbers, painters, vulcanizers, cap, bead, tie and dye makers among others.