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FG begins N9.9bn grant payment to artisans

…disburses N6bn to poor households in Zamfara

The Federal Government has commenced the payment of a total of N9.9 billion to 330,000 artisans across the country. The largesse is part of the implementation of the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) and translates to the payment of N30,000 onetime grant to each artisan. The payments are meant for a set of verified beneficiaries of the Artisan Support Scheme under the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) Survival Fund.

Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, yesterday disclosed that the first stream of beneficiaries would be drawn from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lagos, Ondo, Kaduna, Borno, Kano, Bauchi, Anambra, Abia, Rivers, Plateau and Delta states.

The MSMEs Survival Fund scheme is a component of the ESP, which was developed by an Economic Sustainability Committee established in March 2020. The scheme, which is headed by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, is designed to, among other things, support vulnerable MSMEs in meeting their different obligations and safeguard jobs in the sector. It would be recalled that applications for the Artisans’ Support Scheme under the MSMEs Survival Fund opened on October 1.

The first batch of beneficiaries were also products of the first batch of applications for the scheme submitted between October 1 and October 10. Meanwhile, the enumeration for the second stream of states under the Artisan Support Scheme has also commenced with enumerators in various states compiling the lists of artisans through their association leaders.

Akande urged all interested artisans to liaise with leaders of their associations to document their details. According to him, the registration of applicants for second stream of beneficiaries began on the 19th October 2020. This second batch, Akande disclosed, will involve artisans from Edo, Ogun, Ekiti, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Enugu, Ebonyi, Adamawa, Taraba and Bayelsa states. He also disclosed that the enumeration and verification of the documents of applicants under the Survival Fund Payroll Support scheme is still ongoing, while dates for the commencement of payment would be announced in due course.

The application process for the payroll support scheme, which began on September 21, had ended on the October 15, 2020. Accepted applications are categorised by industry sectors, including education and hospitality, among other sectors. However, New Telegraph gathered that there may be an extension for applications for some states that have not met their quota on beneficiaries.

The Artisan Support Scheme is to benefit about 9,000 Nigerians per state and Federal Capital Territory. In addition, the formalization support under the MSME Survival Fund will also commence today. This involves free business names’ registration for 250,000 MSMEs nationwide by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). According to the CAC, 6,606 business names in each of the 34 states will be registered for free. In Abuja, there would be 7,906 free registrations, 9,084 in Lagos and 8,406 free business names from Kano State.

Akande said a date for the commencement of the Guaranteed Offtake Scheme under the Survival Fund will be announced soon. “This scheme is designed to safeguard existing small businesses and save jobs, while ensuring continued local production by guaranteeing off-take of priority products,” the presidential spokesman said. Meanwhile, the Federal Government has disbursed over N6 billion to poor households in six out of the 14 local government areas of Zamfara State under its Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) scheme in 2020.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Faruk, during the flag off of Grant for Rural Women Project on Tuesday in Gusau. She said the CCT, which commenced in 2016, was aimed at responding to deficiencies in capacity and lack of investment in human capital of poor and vulnerable households. Umar-Faruk said 130,000 beneficiaries from Anka, Bungudu, Birnin Magaji, Kaura Namoda, Tsafe, and Talata Mafara local government areas received be tween N30,000 and N80,000, based on the dates each beneficiary was enrolled into the programme.

On the grant for rural women programme, the minister said it was introduced to sustain the social inclusion agenda of the Buhari administration, including the realization of the national aspiration of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years. “It is designed to provide a one-off grant to some of the poorest and most vulnerable women in rural Nigeria. “A grant of N20,000 will be disbursed to over 150,000 poor rural women across the 36 states of the federation,” she said

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