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MSME survival fund records over 1,258,183 beneficiaries in two years



MSME survival fund records over 1,258,183 beneficiaries in two years

The Project Coordinator, MSME Survival Fund and Guaranteed Offtake Scheme, Tola Adekunle, has stated that over 1,258,183 beneficiaries have benefitted from the Federal Government’s Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) survival fund.

Indeed, the MSME fund launched by the Buhari-led administration in 2020 was to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic especially on vulnerable MSMEs and self-employed individuals in the country.

Adekunle, who was represented by the State Manager, Lagos, Bank of Industry (BoI), Uche Nwachukwu, at a town hall meeting for beneficiaries in Lagos, said the Project Delivery Office (PDO) worked with several partners to drive the five different tracks meant to support and sustain the livelihood of vulnerable MSMEs and self-employed individuals most affected by the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic, its prolonged lockdown and attendant social distancing guidelines.

According to him, the initial setback occasioned by initial public mistrust and apathy for the scheme, resulted in several applicants failing to complete their registration under the payroll support track.

He added that the MSME grant track and particularly the Guaranteed Offtake Scheme, received a significant uptake by the PDO in inquiries for application details.

He commended the present administration for the support given to MSMEs through the scheme, noting that across the 36 States and the FCT, a total of 398,024 beneficiaries received a one-off N30,000.

A member of the Steering Committee, Kamar Bakrin, said the town hall meeting is to highlight the scheme’s achievements around the country and to receive beneficiary feedback on all tracks of the scheme.

He noted that the meetings will also serve as a medium to sensitise the public (especially, the informal sector) on the advantages of Federal Government interventions. These meetings are taking place simultaneously in Lagos (South-West); Kano (North-West); Enugu (South-East); and, Edo (South-South).

He added that the National Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP) approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) was borne out of the need to stimulate the economy post lockdown, especially for small and medium-scale businesses and self-employed individuals previously gainfully employed, by creating production opportunities for MSMEs and providing conditional grants to distressed businesses and self-employed individuals who have been strained with payment of salaries post-COVID 19.

He noted that the anticipated impact of the programme was to directly engage 100,000 MSMEs in the production sector alone and save at least 1.3 million jobs.

He stated that the programme had a target of 45 per cent female-owned MSMEs, and 5 per cent for those with special needs, saying that the overall target beneficiaries for the scheme were self-employed entrepreneurs, and micro and small businesses registered in Nigeria.

“A verification and approval platform was launched by the Project Delivery Office (PDO), and beneficiaries in the 36 States and FCT were invited to apply via the Survival Fund Portal. Applications were verified in line with the Project’s approved criteria, which include, Nigerian citizenship, registration in Nigeria with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), verifiable BVN of business owner and staff strength of not less than 3 persons

He pointed out that the implementation of the Survival Fund across the five tracks yielded positive results. The tracks are the Payroll Support Scheme, Artisan and Transport Scheme, Formalization Support Scheme, General MSME Grants Scheme, and Guaranteed Offtake Scheme.

“Under the Payroll Support Scheme, the target was to augment the payroll obligations of MSMEs in the Health, Production, Education, Hospitality, and Food Production Sectors and also, to reach 500,000 beneficiaries. In total, 490,408 employees received between N30,000 – N50,000 as three months’ salaries in the 36 States and the FCT,” he averred.

He said the Artisan and Transport Scheme proposed to provide a one-off N30,000 grant to 333,000 beneficiaries.

“We currently have 398,260 self-employed individuals and MSMEs who have benefitted across the 36 States and the FCT. The CAC Formalization Support Scheme has achieved 100 per cent as 250,000 businesses have been successfully registered across the 36 States and the FCT,” he said.

In his words: “The General MSME Grants Scheme gave a one-off N50,000 grant to MSMEs; the target was 100,000 MSMEs. A total of 82,491 businesses have benefited from the Scheme.”

One of the beneficiaries who also doubles as the State Secretary, National Commercial Motorcycle, Tricycle Owners and Riders Association of Nigeria (NACTOMORAN), Adediran Fidelis, commended the federal government for the grant, saying that the fund came at the right time as his business was almost at ground halt.

“We got N30,000 each in our association and we are hoping to get another tranche of the fund. This is the second time we are getting the fund,” he said.
He called on the federal government to sustain the programme in its bid to provide welfare for its citizenry, stressing that initiatives such as these would help to address issues of kidnapping, banditry and other social vices.

Another beneficiary, Juliet Ugwuoke, said she was surprised she got the fund because she did not believe in it when she first heard about the survival fund.

She said the fund has helped her pull through the Covid-19 era, commending the federal government to sustain the programme in its quest to keep businesses afloat in the country. (The Guardian)

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CBN devalues Naira to 630/$1



The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has devalued the Naira to N631 to the dollar from N461.6 it sold at the Importers and Exporters (I&E) window the previous day, Daily Trust gathered.

The devaluation came 48 hours after President Bola Ahmed Tinubu announced the plans of the federal government to unify the country’s exchange rate to stimulate the economy.

In his inaugural speech, minutes after he was inaugurated as the 16th president of the country, Tinubu said, “Monetary policy needs a thorough house cleaning. The Central Bank must work towards a unified exchange rate. This will direct funds away from arbitrage into meaningful investment in the plant, equipment and jobs that power the real economy.”

There has been a wide margin between the I&E window and the parallel market, a situation that experts say encouraged round-tripping with Bureau de Change operators.

The situation has seen the CBN devise several measures to check the practice as well as completely stop the sale of forex to BDCs.

On Tuesday, President Tinubu met with the top echelon of strategic institutions including the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, at the presidential villa.

At the end of the meeting, neither the presidency nor Emefiele disclosed the outcome of the briefing. It was, however, gathered that the issue of the exchange rate was discussed at the meeting.

The President also met with the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Mele Kyari. The removal of petrol subsidy was discussed, it was gathered.

Findings, however, revealed that at the resumption of the weekly bidding for foreign exchange, the apex bank sold the spot rate to banks on behalf of their customers at N631 to a dollar and most bidders got the full amount they requested.

One of the customers told this paper that they applied and that their request was fully granted at N631 as against N461.6.

The move has also seen prices at the parallel market trend downwards. Checks by this paper revealed that prices dropped from N750 to a dollar in the early hours of yesterday to N745 by evening in Abuja and Kano respectively.

The naira weakened in the parallel market to the lowest level in a year on expectations of a possible change in exchange rate management after Tinubu takes office on Monday.

The naira dropped to N762 a dollar on Friday from 775 the previous day in the unauthorized market in Lagos, said Umar Salisu, a BDC operator who tracks the data in the nation’s commercial capital.

The unit has weakened steadily in the parallel market since last week after stabilizing for most of this year.

The market arbitrage (difference between the official and parallel markets) has widened in the past three years from N100 per dollar or about 30 per cent in 2020 to over N400 per dollar (above 100 per cent) sometime last year when the black market rate spiked to N880/$.

Development institutions, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), are wary of exchange rate differential in excess of five per cent and warn that such could trigger unhealthy manipulation that could negatively affect other efforts on market stabilisation.

From 2020 to 2022, the CBN spent about $42 billion intervening in the foreign exchange market to stabilise the naira. The amount was sold to the end-users, including students and tourists, at the official rates, which are way off the effective exchange rate of the naira.

According to the Financial Stability Report, a publication of the CBN, the apex bank sold $9.2 billion in the market in the first half of last year.

The full data for the second half are not available, but the annualised value is assumed to have surpassed that, especially with the level of social and economic activities associated with the second half.

Whereas the black market rate averaged N730/$, the I&E window finished at suppressed N447/$ on average. That puts the arbitrage at N283/$, pushing the CBN’s FX subsidy in the year to about N3.65 trillion.

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EEDC blames rainstorm for lack of electricity supply in South East



Enugu Electricity Distribution Company

The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company PLC, EEDC, has informed her esteemed customers across the South East that the loss of supply in some areas within its network was due to the rainstorm which occurred on Sunday evening and early hours of Monday

EEDC explained this through a message issued by Mr Emeka Eze, its Human Capital Development Head and made available to reporters.

This he explained had resulted in faults, occasioned by fallen trees and a high rate of broken High and Low Tension poles, causing supply disruption to their 11KV and 33KV feeders across the business districts.

He explained that their various technical/maintenance teams have since commenced patrol of the network to evaluate the extent of damage and treat faults where they are minimal.

EEDC expressed regret over the inconveniences these developments have caused their esteemed customers and appealed for their patience and understanding while these challenges are addressed.

Emeka Eze maintained that EEDC remained committed to delivering improved services to her esteemed customers.

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CBN gives reason for raising interest rate to 18.5 per cent



The Central Bank of Nigeria has opened up on why it raised the Monetary Policy Rate, also known as the interest rate, to 18.5 per cent from 18 per cent.

In a communique from the 291st Monetary Policy Committee meeting posted on CBN’s website on Wednesday, the Governor of the apex bank, Godwin Emefiele, stated that its investigation and research found that the country’s interest would have been higher but for its intervention by raising interest rates.

According to Emefiele, Nigeria’s April inflation rate of 22.22 per cent would have been 30.48 per cent if the MPC had not raised the interest rate.

The bank’s decision to raise interest rates since May 2022 positively moderated the country’s rising inflation rate.

“The results revealed that following each monetary policy rate hike, the rise in inflation moderated relative to what it could have been if the MPC had not aggressively raised rates at all.

“The empirical evidence provided showed that whereas inflation in April 2023 stood at 22.22 per cent, the counterfactual evidence suggests that, it could have risen to 30.48 per cent in April 2023, had the MPC not taken any action to raise policy rates as it did since May last year,” he said.

CBN’s MPC raised the interest to 18.5 per cent.

CBN retained the Asymmetric Corridor of +100/-700 basis points around the MPR, Retained the CRR at 32.5 per cent, and Retained the Liquidity Ratio at 30 per cent.

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