Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has provided further details on how 1.7 million Nigerians and businesses will benefit from a recently launched N75 billion Survival Fund.
Mr Osinbajo explained this on Thursday while reeling out how the funds would lift struggling businesses from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
He said this during a virtual interactive session organised by the Africa Report magazine.
The details of the vice president’s speech at the event were sent to PREMIUM TIMES by his spokesperson, Laolu Akande, on Friday.
The Nigerian government, on Monday, through the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, launched an online platform for the nationwide implementation of two Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) initiatives.
They are the MSME Survival Fund with the payroll support track as the first scheme to rollout (N60 billion); and the Guaranteed Offtake Scheme (N15 billion) to help cushion the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government said the scheme will be implemented over three months.
The scheme is part of the N2.3 trillion stimulus package of the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP).
Mr Osinbajo gave a break down of how the money will be spent.
The vice president said about 1.7 million individuals and small businesses will benefit from both schemes.
He said the grant would include a “free business name registration for about 250,000 persons, and payroll support for about 500,000 qualified beneficiaries.”
He also said, “artisans and transporters, would be given grants to support their businesses and it will cover about 333, 000 of such artisans and transporters.”
Mr Osinbajo assured Nigerians of the government’s commitment to effectively implement the scheme.
“A couple of days ago, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, launched the Survival Fund. The Fund includes payroll support for about 500, 000 beneficiaries and the plan is to take qualifying businesses who have a minimum of 10 employees and pay salaries of those staff for three months.
“The portal was opened about three days ago and there has been a massive response to it. Payroll support is one important way that we intend to support small scale businesses. We are also giving artisans and transporters, grants to support their businesses and it will cover about 333, 000 of such artisans and transporters.
“There is also a free business name registration that we are doing for 250, 000 persons who wish to register their businesses.
“We are looking at 1.3 million beneficiaries under the Survival Fund and under the artisans and transporters grants. Then we have a Guaranteed Off-take Scheme. Under this programme, basically, if you manufacture certain items and food products, we will buy them from you. Our target is about 300, 000 of such producers of foods. Both schemes will benefit about 1.7 million individuals and small businesses.”
Speaking further about the effective implementation of the schemes, the vice president said measures are being put in place to ensure that the target beneficiaries are impacted positively.
He also said, “We are trying to get everything going. The financing is not the immediate problem, the important thing is organising the beneficiaries and ensuring that the support gets to them. It is more the nitty-gritty of ensuring that this money gets to those for whom it is meant.”
On the agriculture component of the plan, the vice president said the “programme is on course as 2 million farmers across the country have already been certified to benefit from the programme which aims to create jobs and guarantee food sufficiency”.
“We are hoping that we can become a net exporter, at the moment we are the biggest producers of yam and cassava in the world. And through this mass agriculture programme, we hope to become a net exporter of some of the products that we are focused on.
“So, a key factor of the programme is that there is guarantee off-take for farmers,” Mr Osinbajo added.