The federal government has rolled out fresh tracks through which it will support micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria.
This is part of the government’s plan to remedy the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
This was contained in the post-COVID-19 Economic Sustainability Plan prepared by the Economic Sustainability Committee (ESC) constituted on March 30 by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The first on the list is the Guaranteed Off-take Scheme for MSMEs which is to safeguard 300,000 existing jobs in 100,000 MSMEs (impacting 1,000,000 individuals) and sustain local production.
“The scheme will function by the government making arrangements to purchase specific priority products made by MSMEs.
“To ensure value for money the process for such supplies will be a bidding process. The scheme will ensure that small businesses do not fail and thus ensure that the jobs in the MSME sector are not lost to the global and national slowdown in economic activity,” the committee, headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, said.
There will also be a conditional grant to support vulnerable SMEs in designated vulnerable sectors in meeting their payroll obligations and safeguard jobs from the shock of COVID-19.
“The scheme will seek to support 50,000 SMEs employing a minimum of 10 employees and a maximum of 50 employees each.
“Designated vulnerable sectors include hotels, creative industries, road transport, tourism, private educational institutions, etc”.
Also, there will be a provision of interest-free credit to be disbursed through micro-finance and fin-tech credit providers. This is to support daily-paid and self-employed workers and artisans.
Support will also be provided to operators in the transport sector in the form of direct grants to transport workers and businesses.
There is also a track led by the Bank of Industry (BOI). It will provide support to key sectors impacted by the pandemic such as healthcare; agro-processing; creative industry; oil & gas; and women-owned businesses.
According to the plan, preliminary engagements have been undertaken with the private sector to identify interventions required. These include credit facilities that support their working capital and expansion of existing production facilities.
“Given its structure, BOI as a fund manager is able to provide tailored lending solutions across the value chains of these affected sectors i.e. to micro, small and medium enterprises as well as large corporates,” the committee said.
It said the last track is a practical and immediate response to micro and small businesses to support resilience and ensure continued local production and cushion the effects of the pandemic.
The measures introduced will reduce product registration and renewal tariffs with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
The federal government had earlier announced that new MSMEs will register their products at an 80% discount, over the next six months.
– Premium Times