Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Yalwaji Katagum has said that to date, the federal government has successfully disbursed the sum of N56,842,780,000.00 to 1,079,323 to beneficiaries of the MSME Survival Fund Scheme.
The Minister who said this in Abuja on Tuesday at a press briefing to mark the flag-off of the Guaranteed Off-take Scheme revealed that the figures above included those registered under the Corporate Affairs Commission, (CAC).
TheFact Nigeria noted that the Guaranteed Off-take Scheme was one of the tracks of the MSME Survival Fund Scheme under the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP).
Ambassador Katagum said several factors had slowed down the implementation of this last track of the Survival Fund, one of which was the need to do a proper assessment of the earlier schemes and to close identified gaps.
The Minister said: “The unwavering commitment of the Federal Government towards providing critical support to MSMEs necessitated that the Committee members and all relevant Stakeholders continued their work in the background while we put in place all necessary logistics for the successful take-off of the GOS.
“As you are all aware, the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on 1st of July 2020, following its initiation by the Economic Sustainability Committee (ESC) constituted by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari on March 30, 2020.
“The implementation of the MSME Survival Fund across the initial four tracks i.e Payroll Support Scheme, Artisan and Transport Scheme, Formalization Support Scheme and General MSME Grants have all yielded positive results that are verifiable and measurable and the impact is huge!.
“As I am speaking, a multi-stakeholder team led by officials from the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning are in the field conducting an independent Monitoring and Evaluation of the Scheme (16/8/21 – 10/9/21).
“Under the Payroll Support Scheme, our initial target was to reach 500,000 beneficiaries. Our current standing is put at 459,334 successful beneficiaries across the 36 States and the FCT. Out of this number, we have recorded 43% female-owned businesses and 3% special needs.
“The Artisan and Transport Scheme had an initial target of 333,000 Artisan and Transport beneficiaries. We currently stand at 293,336 successful beneficiaries across the 36 States and the FCT.
“The CAC Formalization Support Scheme set out to register 250,000 new businesses and I can report that to date, 244,162 small and growing enterprises have been successfully registered free of charge, across the 36 States and the FCT.
“Also, the General MSME Grants Scheme had its initial target set at 100,000 MSMEs and we have successfully completed the provision of grants to a total of 82,491 till date.
“The last track of the MSME Survival Fund is the Guaranteed Off-take Scheme which we are here to officially flag off-today. Building on the successes recorded in the implementation of the other tracks of the Scheme and in line with the plan to fully rejuvenate the economy, especially MSMEs, in the manufacturing sector, the Federal Government is set to roll out the last component of the Survival Fund known as the Guaranteed Off-take Scheme (GOS).
“As you all know, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a drop in demand for corporate and household products and commodities in Nigeria just like it did in other parts of the world. It is in response to this that the Guaranteed Off-take scheme was conceived as part of the Federal Government’s interventions to assist small and growing businesses that were negatively affected by the pandemic.
“It is important to inform you at this point that this track had an initial target of 100,000 MSMEs across the country. By the time the portal closed, we had received a total of 65,976 applications across the country out of which we have verified and pre-qualified 50,032 MSMEs that we are presently processing to off-take their products.
“As I indicated earlier, there were certain issues that slowed down this flag-off. In the first instance, there was the obvious need to review the other tracks of the MSME Survival Fund to enable us address the challenges in implementation, particularly the issue of failed payments and balancing value and equity among States.
“There was also the need to ensure that every State Government considered as key Stakeholders in the GOS are fully integrated and understand their roles.
“Another factor that slightly delayed the take-off of the GOS was the determination of the Steering Committee to ensure that all due process is followed with the Bureau of Public Procurement BPP.
“Furthermore, we needed to ensure that all logistics are put in place as close to each of the over 50,000 beneficiaries as possible. This obviously made a huge demand on resources but it was a factor that was considered a high priority to achieve the objectives of the GOS.
“The target beneficiaries for the scheme are micro and small businesses registered in Nigeria. Potential beneficiaries in the 36 States and FCT were invited to apply via the Survival Fund Portal and applications were verified in line with the Project’s approved criteria such as:
• Nigerian citizenship
• Registration in Nigeria, with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)
• Verifiable BVN of business owner
• Staff of no less than 3 persons.
“The scheme is giving preference to products produced in reasonably sufficient volumes in each state which have proven propensity to create jobs and have a multiplier effect on the surrounding economy.
“It is important to note that the purpose of GOS is to stimulate direct local production by enabling 100,000 MSMEs in the production sector with funds to produce ‘post COVID lockdown’ off-take products.
“These products include: Face Masks; Hand sanitizers; Liquid Soap; Disinfectants and Processed Foods such as garri, palm oil, groundnut oil, and spices. We have successfully carried out a mapping of products produced in sufficient quantities in each state of the federation and the FCT.
“At the end of the off-take process, items procured will be handed over to the State Governments for onward distribution to Schools, Hospitals, NGO’s, as well as other public and private institutions each State Government may wish to consider as beneficiaries.
“It is important to note that the balance of funds from GOS will be re-purposed and applied to other tracks where there are high numbers of applicants on the waiting list. Again, this will be applied in a very equitable manner among the states.
“The Project Delivery Office (PDO) is working with the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Bank of Industry (BoI) and Industrial Development Fund (ITF) in the implementation of the Scheme. The Project Coordinator will walk you through the second phase of the GOS process, which all things being equal, should come to a close by mid October, 2021.”
The Minister thanked the press for consistent coverage, and urged them to give the Scheme the publicity it deserves as usual.
Also speaking, MSMEs Survival Fund Project Coordinator, Mr Tola Adekunle – Johnson reminded that applications to participate in the scheme closed on 2nd March 2021.
Johnson said: “A total of 50,032 applicants have been pre-qualified and approved by the Steering Committee to proceed to the next stage. These applicants will receive text messages and email requiring them to return to MSME Survival Fund Portal to complete their documentation. Please remember the portal is www.survivalfund.gov.ng
“Applicants will have three days from the time they get the SMS/Email to log in and electronically complete all necessary documentation. This includes selection of a Warehouse or Collection Point closest to them for delivery.
“Applicants can accept to move ahead or decline to cancel their application. Once the documentation is completed, it cannot be reversed.
“Applicants are encouraged to print a copy of their completed documentation from the Portal. This will be used to verify supply details at the Warehouse/Collection Point.
The total value of each Grant is N100,000.
“Applicants who successfully return to the portal to complete their documentation will receive N30,000 fee to commence production of their selected item.
“Applicants have 14 days to complete production and deliver to their selected Warehouse/Collection Point.
“Applicants who successfully complete their documentation process will receive N30,000 as mobilization fee to produce and deliver items to their selected Warehouse/Collection Point. Upon successful delivery of items, the applicant will receive the balance of N70,000.
“At the point of delivery, all items will be verified to ensure compliance. For branding, packaging & quality control, a representative of NAFDAC will run checks on all items.
“A PDO officer will check for actual quantity. SMEDAN Contact persons will be responsible for primary contact management with applicants at the point of delivery.
“The GOS process will be complete when the applicants’ items are successfully verified and received at the Warehouse/Collection Point.
“Thereafter, the Steering Committee will hand over the items to the State Governments for onward distribution to Public and Private institutions like Schools, Isolation Centers, Hospitals and Orphanage homes.
“Please note that only applicants who receive the SMS/Email are eligible to continue. The PDO Call center will be available from 9:00am – 5:00pm Mondays – Fridays.”