The Federal Government says it has secured a $1billion syndicated loan through the Bank of Industry (BoI) to support the activities of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, who disclosed this on Monday at the Quantum Mechanics Limited MSMEs Survival Fund capacity building programme in Abuja said the loan would be disbursed under the supervision of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
The Minister’s spokesperson, Ifedayo Sayo, quoted the minister as saying the loan would improve the capacity of the bank to effectively support MSMEs across key sectors of the Nigerian economy.
The minister said the loan facility to be implemented in conjunction with international partners has a long-term tenor, alongside moratorium benefits for prospective beneficiaries.
He said this was part of the government’s efforts toward economic recovery and sustainable growth.
“There is an ongoing discussion with Dunn and Bradstreet to establish a small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) Ratings Agency of Nigeria (SMERAN) to provide an empirical basis toward analyzing the eligibility of SMEs to access credit through the loans scheme.
The minister, who spoke on efforts of the Federal Government to support MSMEs in the country, also reiterated the ministry’s support to MSMEs development as demonstrated by the MSMEs Survival Fund Initiative, launched in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic by the Federal Government as part of its Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP).
NESP is aimed at protecting MSMEs businesses from the shocks of the pandemic, he said.
“The fund comprises the Payroll Support Scheme, which aims at supporting MSMEs in meeting their payroll obligations to safeguard jobs, by paying up to N50,000 to a maximum of 10 employees for three months.
“The Artisan and Transport Grant supports self-employed artisans with a one-off payment of N30,000 targeting 333,000 individuals.
“The General MSMEs Grant will provide 100,000 MSMEs with one-off grants of N50,000 each.
“And the Guaranteed Offtake Scheme aims at engaging approximately, 100,000 businesses nationwide to produce items typically manufactured in their locality, targeting 300,000 beneficiaries.
“The scheme supports free registration of companies for 250,000 beneficiaries,” he said.
He explained that the fund was also estimated to save at least, 1.3 million jobs across the country, while strengthening the growth potential of beneficiary businesses.
Adebayo stressed that the successful implementation of the scheme so far, had contributed immensely to pulling Nigeria quickly out of the COVID-19 -induced recession.
The minister said the National MSMEs Clinics also supported the growth of small businesses across the country through the provision of critical infrastructure, with 26 of such clinics showing impressive results.
He further disclosed that the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) had launched the Export Expansion Facility (EEF) under the NESP, to support the resilience of new and existing MSMEs to respond to COVID-19 pandemic shocks.
This would retain and create more jobs, especially for youths and women businesses through the Youth Export Development Programme and Promoting women inclusiveness in non-oil export, he added. (NAN)