The federal government has started offering financial aids and support to artisans and transport workers across Nigeria through its N75 billion MSME Survival Fund.
A total number of 333,000 artisans and transport business operators begun to receive N30,000 grants through the Artisan and Transport Support Scheme which commenced simultaneously recently across all the geopolitical zones in Nigeria.
The grant which is under the MSME Survival Fund under the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan was formed by the federal government in July 1, 2020 to assist citizens and businesses operating in Nigeria.
The first phase of the Artisan/Transport Support Scheme would focus solely on 333,000 artisans for a start, which is 9009 from all the 36 states and the FCT and would then move to businesses operating in the transport sector at a later date.
The Vice Chairman of the Steering Committee for Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, during the commencement of the scheme in Lagos, recently, stated that it was aimed at providing soft landing for small businesses in Nigerians who have had their businesses disrupted from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Awosika who is also the Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria, moved on to announce that the government would directly work with artisans who are members of registered trade associations in their respective States, adding that its process would assist the funds to reach the required beneficiaries.
She explained: “It’s true that the evaluation process is simple. However, we will depend very much on the participation and honesty of the associations in ensuring that those who are qualified are the ones who are supported through the registration process.”
Awosika urged artisans in their respective associations to have account numbers, saying it would help to simplify the process.
While explaining the implementation schedule for the scheme, the Managing Director, Bank of Industry, Mr. Kayode Pitan announced that the support scheme which splits the 36 states of the federation into three streams would hold from October 1, to November 21, 2020.
In order to ensure that women get a fair of the fund, Pitan made it clear that 45 per cent has been apportioned to women across the 36 states of the country.
Also, he added that five per cent had been reserved for those with special needs across the federation.