As the implementation of its Economic Sustainability Plan, ESP, continues, and in furtherance of its commitment to support small businesses to cushion the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government has also launched the transport support track under its MSME Survival Fund schemes for artisans and transporters.
According to a statement by the media aide of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, the launch of the transport track last Monday followed the successful take-off of the Artisans Support track on October 1.
While the Artisans track is under the Survival Fund, the Transport track is a different scheme also under the Fund.
While verified Artisans have started receiving the N30,000 one-time grants, Nigerians operating in the transport business, including Rideshare drivers (Uber, Bolt, etc.), Taxi drivers, Bus drivers, Keke Napep riders, Okada riders, cart pushers etc., now have the opportunity to benefit from the scheme.
He said the Artisan track is being implemented in three streams, and as of November 25, a total number of 59,000 individual Artisan beneficiaries have been paid across 24 states in Stream 1 and Stream 2 states.
They include FCT, Lagos, Ekiti, Kaduna, Borno, Kano, Bauchi, Anambra, Abia, Rivers, Plateau, Delta, Taraba, Adamawa, Bayelsa, Edo, Ogun, Ondo, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Enugu, and Ebonyi.
While the verification process for artisans under Stream 3 states commenced on Monday, November 30. Stream 3 states comprise Akwa-Ibom, Cross-River, Zamfara, Yobe, Sokoto, Nasarawa, Niger, Imo, Oyo, Osun, Jigawa, Gombe and Benue.
Similarly, payment to beneficiaries under the Payroll Support scheme for different categories of MSMEs, ranging from education, hospitality to other sectors, has since commenced.
The payroll support scheme, which is designed to support vulnerable MSMEs, targets supporting 500,000 beneficiaries with payment of up to N50,000 per employee for a period of three months, starting from October. The disbursements to approved Payroll Support beneficiaries, commenced on 17th November, 2020.
So far, 207,319 individual beneficiaries drawn from 35,837 businesses/MSMEs nationwide have received their first monthly payment from the Survival Fund’s Payroll Support Scheme.
A breakdown of this figure shows that: N30,000 each was paid to 180,196 employees/beneficiaries; while N50,000 each was paid to 26,353 employees/beneficiaries. Out of this, 2.6 per cent of beneficiaries are with special needs, while 43 per cent are female employees/beneficiaries.
Under this Artisan Support scheme, a total of 333,000 artisans and transport business operators nationwide will get one-time operations grant of N30,000 per beneficiary to reduce the effects of income loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
There will be a total of 9,009 beneficiaries per state for both Artisan and Transport beneficiaries. Of this number per state, there will be a total of 4,505 beneficiaries under the transport scheme while the remaining 4,504 will be artisan beneficiaries.
For the transport track, Nigerians are encouraged to apply through their registered Associations to be enumerated, such as the Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Keke Riders’ Association, Okada Riders’ Associations and Unions, among others. All schemes are applied to beneficiaries on a first come first serve basis.
State focal persons, project field officers, enumerators and others will work alongside the MSMEs Survival Fund Project Delivery Office to properly identify and ensure that members of the respective associations are paid.
There is also provision for individuals who are members of associations but will rather apply directly with the enumerators.
However, such individual applicants in the transport cluster must show their proof of membership of an association to be enumerated.
Like all the schemes of the Buhari administration to support different categories of Nigerians, these schemes are absolutely free, and the grant will be paid directly to the beneficiary’s account.
Nigerians are encouraged to speak up if anyone tries to charge a fee or subvert this arrangement.
Also, the formalization support scheme (registration of 250,000 new businesses with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)) commenced on the 26th of October, 2020 and the registration by aggregators – CAC registration agents, has since commenced across the 36 states and the FCT. The ongoing scheme will run for a period of 3 months effective from the date of commencement.
The MSME Survival Fund, a component under the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan, NESP, is designed to support vulnerable Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in meeting their payroll obligations and safeguard jobs in the MSMEs sector. The scheme is estimated to save not less than 1.3 million jobs across the country and specifically impact on over 35,000 individuals per State.
In the implementation of the transport track the Federal Government is working with representatives of Keke Napep and Okada riders; Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN); representatives of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW); Uber and Bolt drivers, among others.