N66bn shared to 1.2m Nigerians under MSME schemes – Minister

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Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mariam Katagum, on Tuesday, said N66billion had been disbursed to 1.26 million beneficiaries across the country.

The Nigerians benefited from the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Survival Fund and Guaranteed Off-take Scheme.

Katagum disclosed that 38 percent of the beneficiaries were women, including 2 percent to people with special needs.

The target is 45 percent for female-owned MSMEs, and 5 percent for those with special needs.

The MSME Survival Fund and Guaranteed Off-take Scheme, under the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP), were created to cushion the COVID-19 effects.

Launched in September 2020, the initiatives were earmarked to get N75billion, part of the N2.3trillion budgeted for NESP.

At a town hall meeting in Abuja, Katagum said the government was targeting 100,000 MSMEs in the production sector to save at least 1.3 million jobs.

The minister said problems associated with the programmes include the attempts by unscrupulous persons to scam applicants.

Others include multiple applications with forged documentation, fake beneficiaries, and moves to bribe officials to bypass the processes.

“Several enumeration exercises were carried out to get the required number of beneficiaries in some states.

“Under the Guaranteed Off-take Scheme, 19,928 beneficiaries failed to deliver their items after receiving the 30 per cent mobilisation fee, thereby breaching their contract,” the minister said.

Katagum added that despite the challenges, the project enjoyed the tremendous support of state governments who provided warehouses and logistics for the exercise.

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