Female MSMEs to benefit from N75b survival fund, by Jide Ayobolu

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The Minister of State Industry, Trade and Investment, Mariam Yalwaji Katagum disclosed recently that special focus will be given to 45per cent female owned Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and five per cent for special needs owned MSMEs through the N75 Billion survival fund.

She added that this grant will also be given to self-employed individuals especially service providers such as bus drivers, taxi drivers, rideshare drivers and artisans such as electricians and plumbers.

The Minister disclosed this during a press briefing on the national MSMEs survival fund and guaranteed off-take stimulus schemes in Abuja, stating that this track targets 500,000 individual beneficiaries. She pointed out that the scheme will support MSME payroll obligations by paying between N50, 000 maximum and N30000 minimum to between three minimum and ten maximum staff for three months.

MSMEs in this category are required to have a minimum of three and maximum of 50 staff on their payroll to qualify.

According to Katagum, the target beneficiaries are MSMEs in the hospitality industry, private schools, factory owners, law firms and hospitals. General MSME grants are N50, 000 grants to 100,000 MSMEs.

These groups of beneficiaries are encouraged to take advantage of the registration through MSME associations, registered business clusters, trade associations and unions.

She said, “All successful applicants will receive SMS and email verification with a list of requirements for the second stage of application which will commence on 1/10/2020. Applicants will be required to upload details supporting their application which will be verified and if successfully approved for disbursement.

The following states recorded the highest number of applications in the first 24hours of registration, Kano, 16,880, Kaduna, 11,438, Lagos, 10,530, Katsina, 7,354, Bauchi, 6,622. Highest application for 24/-9/2020 Kano, 19,895, Kaduna, 13,575,  Lagos, 13,640, Katsina, 8,383, FCT, 8,085.

The Small and Medium Scale enterprises contribute nearly half of Nigerian GDP and account for over 25 per cent of employment in the country.

This was the revelation of the Enterprise Baseline Survey 2012 presented in Abuja. The 2012 Enterprise Baseline Survey revealed that there are 17 million Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in Nigeria, employing 32.41 million persons and makes a contribution of about 46.54 per cent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product in nominal terms.

The survey conducted by the Pro-Poor Growth and Promotion of Employment Programme in collaboration with Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, SMEDAN, with support from the German Development Agency was aimed at establishing a clear data-driven basis for policy to support the SMEs segment of the economy.

According to the report, SMEs make up the overwhelming majority of private business concerns in Nigeria, which is in the excess of 17 million registered enterprises. Unveiling the report, the Head of Component Enabling Environment, Pro-Poor Growth and Promotion of EMPLOYMENT IN Nigeria Programme, SEDIN, Dr. Manfred Matzdorf, said the importance of credible and reliable data are crucial in Nigeria’s planning and policy formulation, describing it as key to nation’s socio-economic development.

He said that the precondition for the growth of any economy is competitiveness and investment, adding that there is a lot to be done by both government and private sector to improve investment.

According to Matzdors, the survey was designed to increase employment and productivity in line with SMEDAN’s goals and to encourage Nigerian integration into ECOWAS chatter on SMEs development.

The then Director-General of SMEDAN, Alh. Muhammed Nadada Umar, said though, Nigeria may have existed as an independent nation politically for 52 years, it has not existed as an economic independent entity, saying that political independence cannot work in Nigeria unless it collaborates with the economy.

With the new EBS report, Nadada said Nigeria is better prepared for planning to make policies more responsive to the yearnings of the people.

“Nigeria is in the present predicament because this enterprise sector has not been given the right environment to grow, but this report is part of steps that must be taken to accelerate the development of the sector and the economy because every sector in the economy depends on SMEs to thrive.”

According to the SMEDAN boss, the Nigerian economy will not experience the best productivity unless 80 per cent of people are engaged in small and medium scale enterprises.

“The report is expected to be useful to both government and private sector in the planning of national development and unless we have political and economic independence, our efforts will be in vain,” he said.

The report also identified constraints requiring urgent public sector action. They are electricity supply, road infrastructure, access to finance, tax administration, corruption, security, vocational education and business skills training.

SMEs have played and continue to play significant roles in the growth, development and industrialization of many economies the world over. In the case of Nigeria, SMEs have performed below expectation due to a combination of problems which ranges from attitude and habits of SMEs themselves through environmental related factors, instability of governments and frequent government policy changes and somersaults.

The top ten problem areas of SMEs in Nigeria in decreasing order of intensity include management, access to finance, infrastructure, government policy inconsistencies and bureaucracy, environmental factors, multiple taxes and levies, access to modern technology, unfair competition, marketing problems and non-availability of raw materials locally.

Thus managerial problems represent the greatest problem facing SMEs in Nigeria while non-availability of raw materials locally is the least problem. The potentials and opportunities for SMEs in Nigeria to rebound and play the crucial role of engine of growth, development and industrialization, wealth creation, poverty reduction and employment creation are enormous.

The realization of this requires a paradigm shift from paying lip service to a practical radical approach and focus on this all-important sector of the economy by the government realistically addressing the identified problems.

While SMEs themselves need to change their attitude and habits relating to entrepreneurship development, the governments (Local, State and Federal) need to involve the SMEs in policy formulation and execution for maximum effect. Promoters of SMEs should thus ensure the availability or possession of managerial capacity and acumen before pursuing financial resources for the development of the respective enterprise.

The federal government has enunciated several policy thrusts in the year-to-year budget, which were aimed at improving the SME sub-sector. Key among these includes:

•Restructuring the Nigerian economy to make it market-oriented, private sector-led and technology-driven;

•Reducing unemployment and increasing productivity;

•Maintaining price and exchange stability and a healthy balance of payments ;

•Reducing lending rates and improving savings;

•Improving the performance of major infrastructural facilities such as power supply, communications and transportation;

•Entrenching probity, transparency and accountability in governance and Improving credit delivery and extension services to small and medium scale enterprises

Key Strategies: Towards realizing the above objectives, the Federal Government had adopted the following key strategies:

•Priority attention to rural and urban water supply nationwide;

•Appreciate investments in power generation, implementation of an emergency power programme (EPP), encouragement of the establishment of the commercial power plant and focusing on transmission, distribution and rural electrification;

•Establishment of anti-corruption bodies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC);

•Roads construction and rehabilitation, and the establishment of a road maintenance agency;

•Provision of N50 billion for the takeoff of the Bank of Industry;

•Implementation of the Small and Medium Industries Equity Investments Scheme (SMIEIS), which requires banks to set aside 10% of their profits before tax to improve the availability of funds to SMEs;

•Enactment of the Pension Act, which could be an additional source of funding for SMEs.

The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, through the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has set machinery in motion to assist Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria, with the introduction of the programme themed- ‘Business, Innovation and Growth, BIG Platform.

The trade ministry informed that there is enough assistance coming from the World Bank. The ministry stated on its website, seeking to grow SMEs in the country, along the lines of sales, in addition to creating job opportunities for the citizens.

 

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