The Federal Government’s Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Survival Fund has benefited approximately 1,258,183 beneficiaries, according to Tola Adekunle, Project Coordinator, MSME Survival Fund and Guaranteed Offtake Scheme.
In fact, the Buhari-led administration established the MSME fund in 2020 to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic’s consequences, particularly on the nation’s vulnerable MSMEs and independent contractors.
At a town hall meeting for beneficiaries in Lagos, Adekunle said the Project Delivery Office (PDO) collaborated with a number of partners to drive the five distinct tracks intended to support and sustain the livelihood of vulnerable MSMEs and self-employed people who were most impacted by the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic, its prolonged lockdown, and the accompanying social distancing guidelines.
He claims that due to the initial setback brought on by early public skepticism and indifference toward the program, numerous candidates failed to finish their registration under the payroll support route.
He continued by saying that the PDO has a great interest in the Guaranteed Offtake Scheme and the MSME Grant Track, in particular.
He praised the current administration for the assistance provided to MSMEs through the scheme, noting that a total of 398,024 beneficiaries received a one-time N30,000 across the 36 States and the FCT.
According to Kamar Bakrin, a member of the steering committee, the purpose of the town hall gathering is to promote the program’s successes around the nation and to gather input from beneficiaries on all of the program’s tracks.
He stated that the gatherings will also act as a forum for educating the general people, particularly the unorganized sector, on the benefits of federal government interventions. At the same time, these sessions are being held in Lagos (Southwest), Kano (Northwest), Enugu (Southeast), and Edo (South-South).
Specifically for small and medium-sized businesses and self-employed people who had previously been gainfully employed, he continued, the National Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP), which the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had approved, was born out of the need to revive the economy after the lockdown. This was done by giving MSMEs opportunities for production and by giving conditional grants to struggling companies and self-employed people who had been struggling to pay their employees’ salaries after the lockdown.
The project was expected to directly engage 100,000 MSMEs in the production sector alone and save at least 1.3 million jobs, he said.
He said that the overall target beneficiaries for the program were self-employed entrepreneurs, micro and small enterprises registered in Nigeria, with a target of 45% female-owned MSMEs and 5% for those with special needs.
“The Project Delivery Office (PDO) launched a platform for verification and approval, and recipients in the 36 States and FCT were asked to submit applications through the Survival Fund Portal. Applications were evaluated in accordance with the Project’s approved requirements, which include Nigerian citizenship, Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) registration in Nigeria, the business owner’s verifiable BVN, and a staff size of at least three people.
He emphasized that the Survival Fund’s deployment throughout the five tracks had produced fruitful outcomes. The tracks are the Guaranteed Offtake Scheme, General MSME Grants Scheme, Artisan and Transport Scheme, Payroll Support Scheme, and Formalization Support Scheme.
The Payroll Support Scheme’s objectives included reaching 500,000 beneficiaries and increasing MSMEs’ payroll duties in the health, production, education, hospitality, and food production sectors. He said that 490,408 workers in the 36 States and the FCT received three months’ wages totaling between N30,000 and N50,000.
According to him, 333,000 beneficiaries of the Artisan and Transport Scheme would receive a one-time reward of N30,000.
“As of right now, 398,260 MSMEs and independent contractors across the 36 States and the FCT have benefited. According to him, 250,000 firms have been successfully registered across the 36 States and the FCT, making the CAC Formalization Support Scheme a success with a success rate of 100%.
“The General MSME Grants Scheme granted MSMEs a one-time N50,000 award; the aim was 100,000 MSMEs,” he said. The Scheme has helped 82,491 enterprises in total.
Adediran Fidelis, one of the grant recipients who also serves as State Secretary for the National Commercial Motorcycle, Tricycle Owners and Riders Association of Nigeria (NACTOMORAN), praised the federal government for the grant and said it arrived just in time for his company, which was on the verge of going out of business.
“Our association received N30,000 each, and we anticipate receiving a further infusion of funding. We are receiving the money for the second time, he stated.
He urged the federal government to continue the program as part of its effort to ensure the welfare of its populace, pointing out that such programs would aid in addressing difficulties with kidnapping, banditry, and other social vices.
Juliet Ugwuoke, a different beneficiary, expressed her amazement at receiving the money because when she initially learned about the survival fund, she did not think it would actually exist.
She praised the federal government for continuing the initiative in its effort to keep businesses operating in the nation and claimed that the money had helped her get through the Covid-19 era.