by Linda Ikeji
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday July 16, disclosed that private schools, hotels, road transport workers and many others, would benefit from the stimulus package the Federal Government has put in place for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises to cushion the effect of the Coronavirus pandemic in the country.
In a statement released by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity Laolu Akande, the Vice President said the support scheme had been covered by the government’s Economic Sustainability Plan and the survival fund would help provide payroll support to MSMEs with a minimum of 10 and maximum of 50 staff members.
“I am glad to note that this year has been an exception despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Locally, businesses are facing their most challenging time and the impact is particularly severe on MSMEs.
“The central plank of our response as a government to the economic challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic has been the Economic Sustainability Plan recently approved by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Executive Council.
“In that plan which essentially envisages an overall N2.3 trillion stimulus package, we made extensive provision for financial support to MSMEs, ranging from a guaranteed off-take scheme to a survival fund that includes a payroll support programme for qualifying businesses.
“The guaranteed off-take scheme seeks to provide support for MSMEs, manufacturing local products by guaranteeing the purchase from them of qualifying products such as face masks, hand sanitisers, PPE for medical workers, etc.
“These products will be distributed to Nigerians, Nigerian institutions and entities that would require them.
“The survival fund will help provide payroll support to MSMEs with a minimum of 10 and maximum of 50 staff. The MSMEs that qualify for these will make available their payroll for verification by government.
“Companies that meet the requirements will then be eligible to have the salaries of their verified staff paid directly from the fund for a period of three months… the target beneficiaries of this scheme will include private schools, hotels, road transport workers, creative industries and others.”
Osinbajo also revealed that there is a N200bn fund which will be made available to MSMEs in the priority sectors such as healthcare, agro processing, creative industries, local oil and gas, aviation etc.
“This will be granted through a scheme jointly run by the BOI and NEXIM Bank especially for export expansion.
“The CBN is also committed to creating a N100bn target credit facility for MSMEs. Already the recently signed Finance Act already made provision for graduated company income tax rates with zero rates for small companies and a rate reduction for medium sized companies.
“Every person who has taken it upon themselves to start a business in Nigeria no matter how small is a champion and we as a government owe it to you to create an enabling environment for you to thrive.
“This is President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to MSMEs in Nigeria that we will continue to stand by you and to support you and to create opportunities for you to grow and prosper.”