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‘835,161 SMEs have received N56.84bn survival fund’

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Evelyn Ngige, said on Monday that the ministry had disbursed N56.84bn of the N75m Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Survival Fund to 835,161 beneficiaries.

Ngige, who said the fund was to strengthen the MSME sector, gave the breakdown of disbursement as N8.80bn to 293,336 beneficiaries under the Artisan Support and Transport Scheme; N43.92bn to 459,334 beneficiaries under the Payroll Support Scheme and N4.12bn to 82.491 beneficiaries under the MSME Grant Scheme.

The PS disclosed these in her opening remark during the technical session of the 13th meeting of the National Council on Industry, Trade and Investment.

She said the ministry had also through the Bank of Industry disbursed N15bn to 863 MSME businesses across several sectors.

She said, “As part of government efforts to reduce poverty through the creation of jobs, various strategic wealth creation programmes have been embarked upon by the ministry through the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria.

“These initiatives are all geared towards Mr President’s promise of taking 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within the next 10 years.

“These efforts have also led to the review of the National Policy on MSMEs to encourage the establishment of more small and medium scale enterprises within the length and breadth of the country. This has accelerated the profitable expansion of MSMEs along the chain of development.

“Other key programmes initiated by the ministry to create wealth and grow the economy include the Advancement for Women in Agriculture, Agro Allied and Cottage Enterprises which has successfully developed the agro-processing capacities and capabilities of women.

“At the moment, over 300 women have been trained and provided with processing equipment as grants to enhance their agro-processing engagements.”

Ekiti State Commissioner for Trade and Industry, Muyiwa Olumilua, said the primary focus of the yearly meeting was to proffer policies and solutions in the Industry, Trade and investment sector and to chart a course that would transform the nation’s economy.

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