The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Chief Niyi Adebayo, has disclosed that a total of N56.84 billion had been disbursed to operators of micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria, out of the N75 billion Survival Fund earmarked by President Muhammadu Buhari’s government.
The minister said this yesterday, during the opening of the technical session of the 13th meeting of the National Council on Industry, Investment and Trade held at Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State.
The minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Evelyn Ngige, said the scheme was targeted at strengthening ordinary Nigerians and reduce the poverty index to the nearest minimal.
“On the N75 billion MSME Survival Fund, the programme has disbursed N8.80 billion to 293,336 beneficiaries under the Artisan Support & Transport Scheme; N43.92 billion to 459,334 beneficiaries under the Payroll Support Scheme, and N4.12 billion to 82.491 beneficiaries under the MSME Grant Scheme.
“In total, the sum of N56.84 billion has been disbursed to 835,161 beneficiaries under the MSME Survival Fund scheme.”
Adebayo revealed that the ministry has begun full activation of the six private sector-led Special Economic Zones (SEZs) at Lekki, Eyimba, Funtua, lbom, Kano, and Benue, saying the government was working through the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority, to ensure the Authority delivers the establishment of three SEZs in 2022,
In addition, Adebayo said the ministry had, “in line with the Presidential directive for the establishment of at least one Agro-Processing Zone in each of the 109 Senatorial Zones, commenced the process of collecting agro-commodities data in 16 states. He listed the states to include Ebonyi, Plateau, Edo, Jigawa Ondo, Gombe, Abia, Benue, Osun, Sokolo, Zamfara, Enugu, Ekifi, Bauchi, Kebbi and Bayelsa in the first implementation phase.
“We have also ensured credit access to ten million MSMEs at a single-digit rate. In the implementation of this strategic pillar of the federal government to reduce the rate of unemployment in the country, the Ministry through the Bank of Industry (BOI) has disbursed N15bn to 863 MSME businesses across several sectors,” he added.
He said the ministry has actively continued to expand its collaboration with the private sector to create well-paying jobs for the Nigerian youths in fulfillment of the job creation objective of the government.
“The ministry, through the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) has trained 1,211 beneficiaries under its Info-Tech Skills Empowerment Programme (ISEP), Passion to Profession, and other Special Skills Intervention Programmes,” he added.
The former governor said 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,” he added.