From Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, on Monday, said the Ministry had disbursed N56.84 billion to beneficiaries of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) out of the N75 billion survival fund by the Federal Government.
The Minister, represented by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Dr. Evelyn Ngige, said this during the opening of a technical session of the 13th meeting of the National Council on Industry, Investment and Trade held in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital.
He said the scheme was targeted at strengthening ordinary Nigerians and reduce the poverty index to the nearest minimal.
The theme of the summit, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development in Nigeria: The Roles of Stakeholders.’
Given the breakdown, Adebayo said: “On the N75 billion MSME Survival Fund, the programme has disbursed 8.80bn to 293,336 beneficiaries under the Artisan Support & Transport Scheme, N43.92bn to 459,334 beneficiaries under the Payroll Support Scheme, and N4.12 billion to 82.491 beneficiaries under the MSME Grant Scheme.
“In total, the sum of N56.84 billion has been disbursed to 835,161 beneficiaries under the MSME Survival Fund scheme”.
Adebayo added that the Ministry has begun full activation of the six private sector-led Special Economic Zones of Lekki, Eyimba, Funtua, lbom, Kano, and Benue, saying they are working through the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority, to ensure the Authority delivers the establishment of three SEZs in 2022,
In addition, Adebayo said the Ministry had “in line with the Presidential directive for the establishment of at least one Agro-Processing Zone in each of the 109 Senatorial Zones, commenced the process of collecting agro-commodities data in 16 states of Ebonyi, Plateau, Edo, Jigawa Ondo, Gombe, Abia, Benue, Osun, Sokolo, Zamfara, Enugu, Ekiti, Bauchi, Kebbi and Bayelsa States for the first phase of the implementation.
“We are also ensuring credit access to ten million MSMEs at a single-digit rate. In the implementation of this strategic pillar of the Federal Government to reduce the rate of unemployment in the country, the Ministry through the Bank of Industry (BOI) has disbursed N15bn to 863 MSME businesses across several sectors”.
He said the Ministry has actively continued to expand its collaboration with the private sector to create well-paying jobs for the Nigerian youths in fulfillment of the job creation objective of the government.
“The Ministry, through the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), has trained one thousand, two hundred and eleven (1, 211) beneficiaries under its Info-Tech Skills Empowerment Programme (ISEP), Passion to Profession, and other Special Skills Intervention Programmes”.
The former governor said as part of Government efforts to reduce poverty through the creation of jobs, various strategic wealth creation programmes have been embarked upon by the Ministry through the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN).
“These initiatives are all geared towards Mr. President’s promise of taking 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within the next 10 years”.