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The Federal Government has finalised plans for the NGN75 billion survival fund for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). The fund is accessible through a portal where applicants are expected to input their information.
The fund was provided by the government to assist small business owners and workers affected by job losses and salary cuts. Many Nigerians have been struggling financially since the outbreak of COVID-19, which forced companies to shut down and disengage several of their employees.
Businesses in the informal sector and some major companies in the formal sector had their earnings or revenue hit zero due to the long lockdown which started in March and ended in May. Companies in the hospitality industry have not opened, while other sectors are still struggling to stand on their feet.
In order to increase the purchasing power of low income earners and the unemployed, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration initiated the survival fund to help Nigerian households and small businesses survive the COVID-19 period until the economy is back in full operation.
According to the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mariam Katagum, the survival fund will enable small businesses tackle the economic challenges facing them amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Individuals interested in the survival fund are expected to visit the official portal of the fund - www.survivalfund.ng that will be active from 10 pm Monday, September 21, 2020. The Project Delivery Office (PDO) disclosed in a statement, “Nigerians interested in the Payroll Support scheme are to note that the site for registration will be open from 10 pm Monday September 21, 2020.
"In order to ensure seamless registration process, the Project Delivery Office has designed a registration schedule. Registration for Payroll Support will start with educational institutions on Monday and will be followed with businesses in the hospitality industry on Friday September 25 beginning from 12 A.M.
"The portal will also be open to other category of small businesses from 12 A.M., on Monday September 28, 2020.”
Npower has been an essential intervention programme during the pandemic and economic downturn even though it had been in existence long before the COVID-19 pandemic. While there have been reports that the government will put an end to Npower, COVID-19 has made the government reconsider that decision.
Npower beneficiaries have been able to survive the COVID-19 period, as they remained employed while other individuals in the banking, hospitality, beverage, airline, and many other sectors lost their jobs and some got a pay cut in order to remain employed.
Npower has helped thousands of individuals escape poverty, while millions are queuing to also become beneficiaries of Npower. During the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, about five million people applied for the 400,000 Npower slots. This shows the importance of Npower amidst the pandemic and economic challenge faced by households.
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