The Federal Government says it has offered free business registration for 250,000 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) nationwide under its recently launched Survival Fund Scheme.
Amb. Mariam Katagum, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment disclosed this in an interview with our reporter on Monday in Abuja.
According to her, the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration through the Economic Sustainability Committee had announced specific programmes aimed at cushioning the impact of COVID-19 on MSME businesses.
“We have got the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to register 250,000 businesses free of charge.
“In Nigeria, we have a lot of these MSMEs but they are just never formalised, and they stay like that and some fizzle out because they are not able to access credit facilities.
“So part of this component so to register 250,000 businesses free of charge, when you say free of charge, it is this project that pays because CAC will not do it for us free.
“We also within it give 50 per cent discount for those other enterprises that want to register, so if you are not micro, small or medium, you do not get that kind of free registration.”
Katagum said the Federal Government, through the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP) had commenced nationwide implementation of the National MSME Survival Fund and the Guaranteed Off-take Schemes.
She explained that both schemes were at the core of the N2.3 trillion stimulus package also known as the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP) being implemented by the Federal Government.
“These programmes include among others, the N75 billion-MSME Survival Fund and Guaranteed Off-take Schemes of which I have the honour to chair the steering committee for the effective implementation of the projects.
“The project, which will run for an initial period of three months, is targeting 1.7million entities and individuals and has provisions for 45 per cent female-owned businesses and five per cent for those with special needs.
According to her, the project is borne out of the Federal Government’s commitment to help cushion the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy by saving existing jobs and creating new job opportunities.
The minister said that other initiatives under the project include the Artisans and Transport Grants under which electricians, mechanics, plumbers, painters, taxi drivers and other artisans were being empowered with grants.
She said that the Guaranteed Offtake Scheme was to protect and sustain the income of vulnerable MSMEs by guaranteeing the offtake of their products.
She said the Guaranteed Offtake Scheme would provide grant for manufacturers of consumables such as hand sainitisers, face masks, liquid soap, disinfectants and processed foods.
Katagum said that the Payroll Support Schemes supports MSME payroll obligations by paying between N30, 000 and N50, 000 to between three, minimum and 10, maximum workers for three months.
According to her, MSMEs in this category are required to have a minimum of three and maximum of 50 Staff on their payroll to qualify for it.
She said that they must be in the hospitality industry, private schools, factory owners, law firms and hospitals, among others.