About 203, 537 have benefited from the various schemes under the Federal Government’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Survival Fund (MSME) in South South geopolitical zone, says Mariam Katagum, minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment.
The minister, who made this known on Tuesday at a townhall meeting for beneficiaries of the MSME survival fund and the guaranteed off-take scheme for south-south geopolitical zone in Benin City, said of the number, 41,207 were from Edo State.
Katagum, represented by Adewale Bakare, director, Bank of Industry (BoI) and member of the steering committee of the programme, explained that the initiative was borne out of the need to stimulate the economy and sustain businesses through the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP) for small and medium-scale businesses and self-employed individuals after the lockdown was occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.
She said the programme gave special focus to 45 per cent female-owned MSMEs and 5 per cent for those with special needs, adding that the survival fund cut across five tracks, namely payroll support scheme, artisan and transport scheme, formalization support scheme, general MSME grants scheme, and guaranteed offtake scheme.
Giving the breakdown, Katagum said “In the south-south region, there were 74,030 beneficiaries under the payroll support scheme, 13,899 benefited from the MSME grant scheme, 73,161 beneficiaries under the artisan and transport scheme; 39,636 gained from CAC formalization support scheme while 2,811 profited from the guaranteed offtake scheme.
“This brings the total of beneficiaries in the South-South region to 203,537 beneficiaries. In Edo State, the scheme recorded a total of 41,207 beneficiaries under the five tracks,” she added.
She, however, noted that the purpose of the townhall meeting was to highlight the scheme’s achievements around the country and to receive beneficiaries’ feedback on all tracks of the scheme, adding that the meeting will also serve as a medium to sensitize the public, especially the informal sector on the advantages of the Federal Government interventions.
One of the beneficiaries, Jeff Obaseki-Obasogie, who spoke on behalf of the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) applauded the initiative of the government, but, however, sought for improvement so that many persons could also profit.