Ogun rolls out N1bn MSME grants to stimulate economy

The Ogun State government has rolled out N1 billion operational grants to boost the operations of Micro, Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (MSMEs) and stimulate the state’s economy.

The operational grant is part of the Federal Government’s partnership with Nigeria’s 36 states and the FCT, Abuja, to provide economic stimulus for medium-scale businesses that suffered the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic that ravaged the global economy.

Already, the Governor Dapo Abiodun-led government has started engaging with the operators of MSMEs across three senatorial districts with a view to relating and identifying real business owners and would-be beneficiaries of the grant.

Speaking at one of the sessions with the stakeholders in Abeokuta and Ijebu-Ode, Dapo Okubadejo, the finance commissioner and chief economic adviser, said the operational grant tagged, “the Ogun State COVID-19 Recovery and Economic Stimulus Programme (Ogun-Cares)” was a tripartite arrangement to stimulate the economy after the negative effects of COVID-19.

Okubadejo, chairman, Ogun state steering committee for Ogun-Cares, represented by Sola Arobieke, the programme manager for MSE Operational Grant Delivery Platform, noted that the operational grant was aimed at cushioning the effects of COVID-19, growing the economy, creating job opportunities and improving the GDP.

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He added that the two-year programme would provide grants to cover operational costs usually incurred by entrepreneurs such as utility bills, rent, staff salaries, among other running costs that put pressure on business capital which affects saving and business expansion plan.

Okubadejo, who stated that thousands of business owners in the state had already applied for Ogun-Cares, explained that the would-be beneficiaries of the operational grant would be drawn from goods retailing, fashion, hair beauty care, hospitality, and the manufacturing sectors of the economy in the first phase of the programme.

He, however, added that for businesses to be eligible for the grant, such businesses must be located in Ogun State; must have been in existence for over two years; have in its employment at least three staff and profitability of the business must have been affected negatively by COVID-19 pandemic.

Responding, the chairmen of Odogbolu and Ijebu-Ode local, Abeokuta North and Odeda local councils respectively, lauded the state, federal government and the World Bank for the initiative. They believed that the operational grant would assist the MSMEs to stabilise, reposition and boost business across the board.

Also, Rafiu Osiyemi chairman of the Ijebu Chamber of Commerce and Femi Egbesola of Association of Small Business Owners of Nigeria (ASBON) commended the state for the opportunity given to operators of MSMEs to boost their businesses but urged the would-be beneficiaries to use the grant judiciously.

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