By Franklin Alli & Providence Obuh
THE Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment (MITI) Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, said yesterday, that over two million micro traders, farmers and artisans across the country will benefit from the Federal Government’s N500 billion Social Protection programme (SPP) Fund for 2016.
The minister disclosed this while unveiling his vision and action plans for the industrial sector of the economy over the next four years, to Nigerians and foreign journalists in Lagos.
According to him, as part of the Federal Government’s N500 billion Social Protection programme for 2016, over two million traders, farmers and artisans will receive micro-credit, through a fund to be managed by the Bank of Industry.
“Obviously, this fund is still being rolled out, it is still in the planning stage, so I am not in a position to say how much each company will get; suffice to say that it is going to be a range, you know there is a trade-off of how wide and how deep .
“So by saying two million we are targeting a substantial number of beneficiaries and you will see the result, it also means, the fund is not for large enterprises rather it is for micro, artisans and traders. I expect that the loan will range from tens of thousands of naira and some may get up to a million in some cases but it will be in range;
“Of course, you don’t give somebody what he does not need and you don’t undermine somebody by giving him too little. So we are going to give the fund based on size and needs of the beneficiary.
“MSMEs are the unsung heroes of our economy, currently contributing about half of Gross Domestic Product, and possessing the potential to be even more productive, given the right incentives.
“Working through agencies like the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), the Bank of Industry (BoI), the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), and the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), and in collaboration with other ministries and agencies of government, we will be rolling out programmes and initiatives focused on supporting MSMEs with financing, infrastructure, technical support and training,” he said.