The federal government has announced the date for open applications for artisans and transporters to apply for N30,000 grants to cushion the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on low-income Nigerians.
The minister of state for industry, trade and investment, Ambassador Mariam Yalwaji Katagum, made this known on Thursday, September 24, in Abuja at a media briefing on the scheme.
Katagum who said the application would be open on October 1, revealed that 333,000 artisans and transporters would benefit from the N30,000 grant.
She said the grant falls under the National Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) survival fund, adding that about 9,000 people would benefit from N270 million allocated per state under the scheme.
The minister said the artisan and transporters grant would be opened for 12 states for the pilot stage on October 1, and they include Lagos, Kano, Rivers, Bauchi, Kaduna, Plateau, Borno, Ekiti, Anambra, Abia, and the FCT.
Speaking on the MSME survival fund, the minister said 174,574 MSME operators have so far registered for the scheme with Kano, Kaduna and Lagos recording the highest number of applicants within the first 24 hours of opening the portal.
Also speaking, the special assistant to the vice president on MSME, Tola Johnson, said N75 billion 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 (NESP).
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 Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Dikko Umaru Radda, said all MSME operators in all the states of the federation and the FCT would get the funds as money has been set aside for each state in the programme.
He added that micro-businesses who account for about 99% of MSMEs would be able to benefit from the funds as the lease with their various trade associations.
Radda said necessary measures had been put in place to prevent scammers and fraudsters from taking advantage of the programme hence people can apply on the website: www.survivalfundapplication.com.