Within the first 24 hours that the Federal Government opened the portal for the N75bn Micro Small and Medium Enterprises support fund, a total of 138,000 small business operators have registered to access the fund.
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Mariam Katagun made this known in Abuja at a media briefing on the Scheme.
Registration for the MSME Survival Fund commenced on September 21 at 11pm and within the first 24 hours approximately 138,000 individuals had logged on, created profiles, and completed the first stage of registration with Kano, Kaduna, and Lagos as the lead states.
The Minister said all successful applicants received SMS and email verification with a list of requirements for the second stage of application which will commence on October 1.
She said Applicants will be required to upload details supporting their applications which will be verified and if successful, approved for disbursements.
According to her, states that recorded the highest number of applications in the first 24hrs of registration are Kano 16,880; Kaduna 11,438; Lagos 10, 530; Katsina 7,354 and Bauchi 6,622
She said as of 8.30am on Thursday, total successful registrations stood at 174,574 out of which Kano had 19,895; Kaduna:13,575; Lagos 13,640; Katsina 8,383 and Federal Capital Territory 8,085
To commemorate Nigeria’s 60th Independence Anniversary on October 1, she said the Federal Government is ready to disburse about N300m to 333,000 artisans and transporters under the National Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Survival Fund and the Guaranteed Off-Take Stimulus Scheme.
Katagum who is the Chairperson Steering Committee of the Scheme said each beneficiary would be given one-off payment of N30,000.
She stated that the target beneficiaries include mechanics, taxi drivers, hairdressers, keke NAPEP riders, okada riders, plumbers, electricians among others.
According to her, beneficiaries from twelve states will benefit from the first phase of the scheme.
The Minister of State explained that the states include, Lagos, Bauchi, Kaduna, Kano, Plateau and Borno.Others are Ekiti, Anambra, Abia, and the Federal Capital Territory.
Katagum said 174,574 MSME operators have so far registered for the Scheme with five States recording the highest.
She, however, warned applicants to beware of fraudsters as they have been making attempts at circumventing the application process
She said, “We would however like to draw the attention of the public to attempts by scammers and other undesirable elements to swindle innocent Nigerians with promises of assured disbursements for a fee.
“The Survival Fund will not at any time or for any reason request payment or facilitation fees to access the Grants.
“The public is encouraged to report any such nefarious activities to the nearest security agents and follow up with a report to the PDO via the mediums provided on the website.”
Also speaking, the Special Assistant to the President on MSME, Mr said N75bn naira had already been set aside by the Federal Government for the National MSME Survival Fund and the Guaranteed Off-Take Stimulus Scheme under the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan.
Johnson said the gesture was to assist MSME operators due to the COVID 19 pandemic.
In a remark, the Director General of Small and Medium Enterprises of Nigeria, SMEDAN, Dr Dikko Umar said all MSME operators in all the States of the Federation and the FCT would be carried along in the programme.
He said necessary measures had been put in place to prevent scammers and fraudsters from taking advantage of the programme.