Artisans to smile as FG launches survival funds.

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Following the successful launch on September 21 of the MSMEs Survival Fund, the Federal Government has announced the next implementation stage with the official launch of the Artisans’ Support Scheme under the MSME Survival Fund on Thursday, on October I, Independence Day.

Under the scheme, 333,000 Artisans and Transport Business Operators nationwide will get a one-time operations grant of N30,000 per beneficiary to reduce the effects of income loss due to the Covid-19 pandemic, of which there will 9,009 beneficiaries per state.

The Scheme will roll out in three two-week sprints and target implementation across the country in three Streams. The first stream, from October 1st – 10th, comprises the FCT, Lagos, Ondo, Kaduna, Borno, Kano, Bauchi, Anambra, Abia, Rivers, Plateau and Delta states.

The second stream, which will commence from October 19th – 31st, comprises Taraba, Adamawa, Bayelsa, Edo, Ogun, Ekiti, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Enugu and Ebonyi states; while the third stream, expected to start from November 9th – 21st, comprises Akwa-Ibom, Cross-River, Zamfara, Yobe, Sokoto, Nasarawa, Niger, Imo, Oyo, Osun, Jigawa, Gombe and Benue states.

Clusters of artisans/transporters’ associations and Unions to be considered as beneficiaries for the one-time are to be duly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

Artisan clusters already identified for the MSME support grant include mechanics, barbers, hair stylists, bricklayers, tailors, plumbers, carpenters’ associations/unions with representations across all the states.

State focal persons, project field officers, enumerators and others will work alongside the MSMEs Survival Fund Project Delivery Office to properly identify and ensure that members of the right associations are paid.
There is also provision for artisans who do not belong to Associations, but will rather register directly with the enumerators, however, such artisans must show their evidence of membership.

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While the application for grants for artisans commenced on October 1, that for transporters will be communicated soon.

The Hon. Minister of State, for Industry, Trade and Investment, and Chairperson of the Steering Committee, Amb. Mariam Katagum, who formally launched the Artisans Scheme, stated that the Survival Fund is meant to cushion the economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic on MSMEs.

She said, “The President approved the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP) to cushion the effects of COVID-19 on economic activities. In the approval were two MSME schemes namely, MSMEs Survival Fund & Guaranteed Offtake Schemes. The Artisans and Transport Scheme is one of those tracks under the Survival Fund.

“What we have come to launch today is the artisans and transport scheme with your leadership, and to explain to them how you can benefit as association and union members. However, we are only launching the artisans part of the scheme today, we will inform and engage the leadership of the transport sector and the public before we commence the transport scheme. His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, had insisted that we prioritize this scheme and ensure that it starts today, October 1st which is the 60th independence anniversary of our dear nation, Nigeria.”

In his remarks, the Special Assistant to the President on MSMEs, Mr. Tola Johnson, who is the Project Coordinator, stated that the Federal Government is committed to the welfare and wellbeing of artisans, adding that the grants would be paid directly into beneficiaries’ accounts and not into a third party’s account.

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The launch of the Artisans’ support scheme follows the successful take-off of the first stage of the survival fund, the payroll support, for different categories of MSMEs, ranging from education, hospitality to other sectors.

Registration for the Payroll Support commenced on Monday, 21st September. As at September 25, 2020, the application portal had recorded almost 342,500 applicants.

Meanwhile, the second phase of application for the payroll support also commenced on October 1.

All successful applicants received SMS and email verification with a list of requirements for the second stage of application, and applicants/businesses will be required to upload their details and documents supporting their applications for verification. If successful, it would be approved for disbursements.

The MSME Survival Fund, a Federal Government initiative under the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan, NESP, is designed to support vulnerable Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in meeting their payroll obligations and safeguard jobs in the MSMEs sector. The scheme is estimated to save not less than 1.3 million jobs across the country, will provide Payroll support of N30,000 or N50,000 grant over three months to 500,000 beneficiaries

The Bank of Industry (BOI) will be handling the phases of the scheme.

Also present at the press briefing were the Director-General, SMEDAN, Dr. Dikko Umaru Radda, who gave the vote of thanks at the launching, members of the Steering Committee, leaders and members of the Artisans and Transporters associations/unions.
About Igwe Ogbonnaya 10 Articles
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