The Federal Government has expressed optimism in its ability to reach 100,000 small businesses, as it concludes plans to roll out the last two schemes that make up the MSMEs Survival Fund, namely, the Guaranteed Offtake Stimulus (GOS) Scheme, and the General MSMES Grant.
According to the government, the purpose of the GOS is to stimulate direct local production by enabling 100,000 MSMEs in the production sector with funds to produce post-COVID-19 lockdown stimulus products.
The Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Mariam Katagum, who is also the Chairperson, Steering Committee, MSME Survival Fund and Guaranteed Off-Take Schemes (GOS), said the Steering Committee for the Survival Fund would submit its reports to the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning as well as await the second tranche of the Fund, adding that the existing schemes were progressing seamlessly.
While noting that the scheme would give preference to products produced in reasonably sufficient volumes in each State of the Federation, Katagum said the product must be able to create jobs and have a multiplier effect on the surrounding economy.
Katagum in her statement said: “The Federal Government is set to roll out the last two schemes of the MSMEs Survival Fund component of the National Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP) namely, the Guaranteed Offtake Scheme (GOS) and the General MSMEs Grant. Two of the components approved under the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) are the MSMEs Survival Fund and Guaranteed Off-take Scheme.
“The Steering Committee approved the implementation of the two Schemes in five distinct parts namely; the Payroll Support Scheme, Artisan and Transport Scheme, Formalization Support Scheme, General MSMEs Grant and the Guaranteed Offtake Scheme.
“Under these two components, the portal will open from 11:59 pm on Tuesday, 9th February 2021 to Thursday 18th February 2021 for the Guaranteed Offtake Scheme (GOS) and General MSME Grant Applications. All interested MSMEs can go directly to the Portal and register for either of the Schemes free of charge.”
She listed some of the products of interest to the Federal Government to include: face masks, hand sanitiser, liquid soap, disinfectant and processed foods.
Also contributing, the Special Assistant to the President on MSMEs in the Office of the Vice President, Tola Johnson, revealed that a total of 100,000 businesses across the 36 states and FCT would benefit from the new schemes.
Johnson added that the portal for the GOS would be opened for two weeks, while the portal for the grant would be opened for a week.
He listed some of the conditions to qualify to participate in the scheme to include; businesses must be registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), must be owned by a Nigerian; and must have a minimum of two staff and that the disbursement would be on a first-come-first-served basis.