The Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) has commenced the disbursement of funds to entrepreneurs in Benue state under the Conditional Grant Scheme (CGS) of the agency. According to the Benue state manager of SMEDAN Mr. Oryiman Alu, the agency in collaboration with partners and stakeholders had selected, verified and trained over 90 micro business owners in each of the 23 local government areas of Benue state. This he said translates to well over 2,000 beneficiaries across the state with each receiving funding support of N50,000 in grants.
In an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP, Oryiman said N103,500,000 is the total amount allotted for the grant scheme in Benue state with a total of 2,070 beneficiaries. According to him, the CGS is a pilot scheme running in six states of the federation, one in each of the six geo-political zones. Akwa-Ibom, Benue, Ebonyi, Gombe, Katsina and Oyo state.
These funds, he said are sourced from the national budget of SMEDAN programmes. On how to supervise the beneficiaries to be sure the funds are used appropriately, he explained that “we are carrying out a post training support to all beneficiaries in partnership with stakeholders in the state who also nominated some of the beneficiaries. We have designed a monitoring schedule which covers the 23 LGAs. Furthermore, the program aims to support beneficiaries in registration of their business with CAC at no extra cost on the beneficiaries. The objective is to move most of our micro enterprises from informal to duly registered and legally recognized businesses. The 2013 national MSME survey revealed that majority of micro enterprises in Nigeria are informal. This programme aims to address this challenge as well as enable them establish banking relationships. That is why those without bank accounts had accounts opened for them,” he said.
It would be recalled the Director General of SMEDAN Dr. Dikko Radda said the agency has put in place appropriate measures to formalize MSMEs in Nigeria as 98 per cent of them are informal. According to him, the conditional grant scheme was established to formalize the informal sector of MSMEs because most of them need motivation to be able to formalize their businesses. “
An award for best performing MSMEs was set and in 2017, we started with the six pilot states from each geopolitical zone where we chose 100 beneficiaries from each local government and realized 13,116 beneficiaries in total. The agency intends to formalize them under the 2017 budget and their names have already been sent for registration where we are paying the fee for their businesses and also paying for the micro insurance component for one year,” he said.
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