In a significant move to provide economic relief to small and medium-scale businesses in Nigeria, the Federal Government, led by President Bola Tinubu, has earmarked N200 billion in palliative funds. These funds are intended to alleviate the economic challenges brought about by the removal of fuel subsidy and exchange rate unification on these businesses.
The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN) is at the forefront of efforts to compile accurate data on eligible businesses set to benefit from this substantial financial relief. The objective is clear: to ensure that funds are allocated transparently and without duplication, reaching the deserving recipients.
President Bola Tinubu outlined his administration’s intentions during a nationwide broadcast on July 31, 2023. He emphasized the government’s commitment to strengthening the manufacturing sector and increasing its capacity to expand, ultimately leading to job creation. President Tinubu pledged to allocate N75 billion between July 2023 and March 2024, with the aim of supporting 75 enterprises with significant potential to jumpstart sustainable economic growth, accelerate structural transformation, and enhance productivity.
Despite these promises, three months have passed since the directive was issued, and the government has yet to commence the disbursement of these crucial funds. This delay has raised concerns, with industry leaders expressing apprehensions about the current situation.
Segun Ajayi-Kadir, the Director General of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, voiced his concerns in a recent interview, describing the seeming delay in extending the proposed N75 billion loan facilities to manufacturers as “worrisome.”
In response to these concerns, Fasanya Olawale, the Director General of SMEDAN, provided reassurances in an exclusive interview. He pledged that prospective recipients could expect to receive the loan facilities within the stipulated timeframe. Olawale emphasized that the government’s target is to reach every one of the 774 local governments across Nigeria, ensuring that the economic relief reaches businesses in even the most remote areas.
The ongoing efforts by the Federal Government, through SMEDAN, to compile accurate data and ensure a transparent allocation process, demonstrate its commitment to supporting the growth and stability of small and medium-scale businesses in Nigeria. As businesses eagerly await the disbursement of these vital funds, there is optimism that this initiative will provide the much-needed boost to the manufacturing sector and contribute to economic recovery in the country.
Source: Punch Nigeria
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