Business & Economy - News - February 9, 2021

Nigerian govt reports impactful progress on COVID-19 stimulus packages

The Federal Government on Monday said that the implementation of its Economic Sustainability Plan has continued to record impactful progress as millions of Nigerians received support from the various programmes under it.
About one million beneficiaries have received cash under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Survival Intervention Fund, while over five million farmers have been enumerated and 3200 hectares of farmland has been cleared for farming under the agricultural intervention programme.
Also, about 30,000 N-power exited beneficiaries hired as agric enumerators in addition to about 344 kilometers of roads under construction to link 500 markets in local communities across the country.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who presided a meeting of the Economic Sustainability Committee on Monday in Abuja gave some highlights of the progress report of achievements to Federal ministers and heads of agencies.
Highlights of the reports included the release of about N37billion for the Survival Fund covering such schemes as N50,000 Payroll Support for three months to over 300,000 beneficiaries; one-time grants of N30,000 to about 100,000 artisans, and 100,000 business name registrations paid for by the Federal Government.
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade & Investment Ambassador, Mariam Katagum reported progress to the Committee on the Survival Fund, while the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele also reported on the bank’s interventions, including disbursement of over N192billion for household/micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) grants to 426,000 beneficiaries across the country, with plans to do over N100billion more in that category named Targeted Credit Facility.
The CBN Governor said under the collateral-free Agric-Business/Small & Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme, there were ongoing grants of concessionary loans from between N150,000 to N2.5million.
In that category, the CBN governor disclosed that over N106billion has been disbursed so far to over 27,000 beneficiaries.
In the Agric sector, Agriculture and Rural Development Minister, Sabo Nanono, said a total of 5.4million farmers have now been enumerated to get the support under the plan.
He added that for the enumeration which involved geospatial tagging, almost 73,000 N-Power volunteers were trained and 30,000 of them deployed to 774 Local Government Areas of the country.
For the purposes of funding through the CBN, the Minister disclosed that 2.9million of the farmers have had their biometric verification numbers (BVN) enrollment validated.
Also, the clearing of 3,200 hectares of land for farming is ongoing in several States, including Edo, Plateau, Ekiti, Cross River, Ogun, Kaduna, Kwara, and Osun States, while rural road constructions have reached about 28% completion covering 344kilomters, linking about 500 markets across the country.
The Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami told the Committee that broadband penetration in the country has moved from 38% last year to 45% now, while over 170 institutions have been registered to conduct the national identification number (NIN).
He also said Telcos would be licensed for the enrollment, while over 1060 registration centers have been activated across the country for the NIN.
The minister added that a total of 56.18million NINs have been collected by mobile network operators across the country.
Others who briefed the Committee included the Labour, Employment and Productivity Minister, Chris Ngige, and his Minister of State colleague, Festus Keyamo.
In his presentation, Mr. Ngige listed the Federal Government’s efforts to prevent the retrenchment of staff in the private sector as a result of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
He listed some hotels and companies that agreed not to retrench after taking advantage of the intervention support provided by the government, adding that bankers have all committed not to retrench staff at this time.
Works and Housing Minister, Babatunde Fashola reported on the ministry’s coordinated public works Programme, while Mr. Keyamo reported on the progress of the Special Public Works that hires 774,000 workers across all Local Government Areas of the country.
Other presentations were made on the Rapid Response Register launched recently by the Vice President and the Social Housing Scheme of the ESP.
Other ministers at the meeting were the Industry, Trade and Investment Minister, Niyi Adebayo and Petroleum Resources Minister of State, Timipre Sylva.

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