By Adedapo Adesanya
The federal government said it has disbursed N56.84 billion (about 76 per cent) of the N75 billion Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Survival Fund to 835,161 beneficiaries.
This was disclosed by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs Evelyn Ngige, on Monday, during the technical session of the 13th meeting of the National Council on Industry, Trade and Investment, noting that the fund would help strengthen Nigeria’s MSMEs sector.
Giving a breakdown, she noted that a huge chunk of the fund went to 459,334 beneficiaries under the Payroll Support Scheme, totalling N43.92 billion, while N8.80 billion was granted to 293,336 beneficiaries under the Artisan Support and Transport Scheme, with N4.12 billion given to 82.491 beneficiaries under the MSME Grant Scheme.
The Perm Sec said that the ministry had also through the Bank of Industry (BoI) disbursed N15 billion to 863 MSME businesses across several sectors.
“As part of government efforts to reduce poverty through the creation of jobs, various strategic wealth creation programmes have been embarked upon by the ministry through the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN).
“These initiatives are all geared towards Mr President’s promise of taking 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within the next 10 years.
“These efforts have also led to the review of the National Policy on MSMEs to encourage the establishment of more small and medium scale enterprises within the length and breadth of the country. This has accelerated the profitable expansion of MSMEs along the chain of development.
“Other key programmes initiated by the ministry to create wealth and grow the economy include the Advancement for Women in Agriculture, Agro-Allied and Cottage Enterprises which has successfully developed the agro-processing capacities and capabilities of women.
“At the moment, over 300 women have been trained and provided with processing equipment as grants to enhance their agro-processing engagements,” she stated.
On his part, the Ekiti State Commissioner for Trade and Industry, Mr Muyiwa Olumilua, said the primary focus of the yearly meeting was to proffer policies and solutions in the Industry, Trade and investment sector.
He said that such an event created an opportunity for stakeholders to meet and chart a course that would transform the nation’s economy.