From Walter Ukaegbu, Abuja
As part of efforts to boost Nigeria’s economic recovery and sustainable growth, the Bank of Industry (BoI) under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has concluded a $1billion syndicated term loan in conjunction with international partners to further support Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSME) in the country.
Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, said the loan is aimed at “further improving the capacity of the bank to effectively support Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSME) – across key sectors of the Nigerian economy – with affordable loans of medium to long-term tenor, alongside moratorium benefits.”
Adebayo who disclosed this on Monday at the Quantum Mechanics Limited MSME Survival Fund capacity building programme in Abuja, also said discussion were ongoing with Dunn & Bradstreet to establish an SME risk rating agency – the SME Rating Agency of Nigeria (SMERAN), to provide empirical basis for analysing the eligibility of SMEs to access credit.
The Minister who spoke on efforts of the Federal Government at supporting MSMEs in the country said, “I will like to reiterate that our Ministry fully supports MSMEs, as demonstrated by our MSME Survival Fund Initiative launched in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic by the Federal Government as part of the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP); aimed at protecting MSME businesses from shocks the pandemic. The Fund comprises the Payroll Support Scheme which aims to support MSMEs in meeting their payroll obligations and safeguard jobs by paying up to N50,000 to a maximum of 10 employees in each MSME for three months; the Artisan and Transport Grant which supports self-employed artisans with a one-off payment of N30,000 targeting 333,000 individuals; the General MSME Grant which will provide 100,000 MSMEs with one-off grants of N50,000 each; and the Guaranteed Offtake Scheme which will engage approximately 100,000 businesses across the country to produce items typically manufactured in their locality, targeting 300,000 beneficiaries, including free registration of companies for 250,000 beneficiaries.”
He explained that the survival fund was estimated to save at least 1.3 million jobs across the country, while strengthening the growth potential of beneficiary businesses, stressing that the successful implementation of the scheme so far has contributed immensely to quickly pulling Nigeria out of the Covid-19-induced recession.