AGENDAWATCHDOG) – As part of efforts to ameliorate the negative impact of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic on small business in Nigeria , the Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Survival Fund and Payroll Support Scheme have been formally launched by the federal government.
The N60 billion double pronged Micro empowerment schemes are part of the government’s N2.3 trillion Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP).
This was disclosed at the formal launch of the schemes in Abuja on Thursday, by the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Mariam Katagum, who also added that the N15bn SMEs Guaranteed Off-take Scheme, which was still in the works, but would soon take off.
The initiative is expected to commence with the Payroll Support targeting 100,000 businesses and 500,000 beneficiaries for salaries ranging from N30,000 to N50,000, with approximately 333,000 artisans and transport operators receiving N30,000 as grants to help stem the negative impact of COVID-19 on their income, according to Senior Assistant to the Vice President on MSMEs Tola Johnson, who also added that the fund would also serve the objective of supporting 250,000 new businesses and facilitate their registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
POTENTIAL IMPACT: The Survival Fund is a laudable, timely initiative as it would cushion the effect of COVID-19 on MSMEs in the country. Its only shortfall its the short duration and the small size of the scheme. The federal government would do well to increase the packages and extend their duration.