Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja
The Federal Government, on Thursday, formally inaugurated the artisans and transport sector track of the N75bn MSME Survival Fund and Guaranteed Off-take Stimulus Scheme.
A total of 333,000 artisans and transporters across the country are to benefit from grants provided by the scheme.
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Miriam Katagum, who flagged off the scheme in Abuja, said 9,009 beneficiaries each from the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory would benefit from the scheme.
She said the scheme would leverage duly registered and recognised associations so that members of the bodies would attest to the transparency and effectiveness of the exercise.
She explained that the artisans and transport support scheme was designed to provide 333,000 artisans and transport business operators with a N30,000 operations grant.
Katagum said the grant would help reduce the effect of income loss during the COVID-19 pandemic and its resultant lockdown.
She said special focus would be given to 45 per cent female-owned micro, small and medium enterprises and five per cent special needs owned MSMEs.
Katagum said the grants would go to self-employed individuals, especially service providers such as bus drivers, taxi drivers, ride share drivers and artisans, including electricians and plumbers.
She said, “One-off payment of N30,000 will be given as grant to each beneficiary. The categories of self-employed individuals eligible to participate in this track of the Survival Fund Scheme include mechanics, taxi drivers, ride share drivers.
“Others include hairdressers, ‘Keke NAPEP’ riders, Okada riders, plumbers and electricians.”
The minister further noted that beginning from Monday next week, the free registration of 250,000 new businesses with the Corporate Affairs Commission would commence.
“This will be at no cost to the MSMEs. The Federal Government will pay CAC N6,000 for each registration and this is under the formalisation support and it is for all MSMEs that require formalisation,” Katagum stated.
She urged artisans and transport business operators to take advantage of the scheme, adding that the government would need them to have valid accounts with banks in order to effectively benefit from the grants.